Redmayne: Hawking role a privilege
Bafta front-runner Eddie Redmayne insisted the real honour in playing scientific genius Stephen Hawking was meeting the man himself.
The actor, who is hot favourite to carry off the prestigious leading actor award, is nominated along with his co-star Felicity Jones who plays his wife in The Theory Of Everything.
The film, based on the memoirs of Hawking's ex-wife Jane which deals with their relationship, his scientific success and the onset of motor neurone disease which left him severely disabled, has been a huge hit with the critics.
Eddie told the Press Association: "The most rewarding part of it was getting to meet Stephen, Jane and the Hawking family. The whole film was this extraordinary mixture of great privilege and great responsibility and just begin able to enter the lives of these people for a few months and to hear their stories. Even just to spend time with them was truly an honour."
Among the names challenging Eddie for the leading actor honour are Michael Keaton and fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch.
But Eddie insisted there was no rivalry between him and the Sherlock star who is nominated for his performance as another ground-breaking scientist - wartime codebreaker and computing pioneer Alan Turing.
He said: "I absolutely adore that man and think he's the most brilliant actor. And for me it's a real privilege to be in a list alongside him. He's an old friend and a wonderful talent."
Felicity, nominated alongside Hollywood heavyweights Julianne Moore and Amy Adams, said she was "stunned and excited" and was exchanging messages with her co-star.
She said: "It's midnight here, we're in LA. We're just about to go to bed, but we've all been emailing each other and exclaiming with excitement."
The actress said she had been delighted by Jane's response to the film and her portrayal of her, saying: "Jane wrote a lovely email saying how lucky she felt that a story had been made of her and Stephen's life while they're still alive, because usually films aren't made about people until they're dead. She's just been very warm about it, so it's been incredible."