Britain's Timothy Spall wins best actor at Cannes

24th May 2014, Comments 0 comments

British actor Timothy Spall claimed the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival Saturday for his role in a lush historical portrait of painter JMW Turner, by director Mike Leigh.

"Mr. Turner" stars the 57-year-old Spall, credited with blazing a trail for modern art of the time, in a grunting, snorting, spitting, womanising, warts-and-all performance that critics hailed as riveting.

"I am trying to hold back my tears," an emotional Spall told the audience after receiving the prize, lauding his decades of collaboration with Leigh.

One of Britain's best-regarded character actors, and better known abroad for a recurring role in the "Harry Potter" movies, Spall is credited with a gift for invoking empathy with otherwise unlovable protagonists.

For his role as Turner, Spall practised painting for two years before starting to film with Leigh and said his extensive research revealed the British artist to be "a man of mystery".

© 2014 AFP

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