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Saturday 19 October 2019

Richard E Grant pays tribute to Aids victims as he wins Indie Spirit Award

He won best supporting male for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?.

British actor Richard E Grant won best supporting male at the Film Independent Spirit Awards (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
British actor Richard E Grant won best supporting male at the Film Independent Spirit Awards (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Richard E Grant paid tribute to the victims of the Aids crisis as he was named best supporting male at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The British actor won the award for his role as Jack Hock in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a biographical drama also starring Melissa McCarthy.

Grant, 61, who is nominated for an Academy Award on Sunday for the same role, was visibly emotional as he accepted the first major prize of his career.

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Olivia Grant, left, and Richard E Grant, who won a prize at the Indie Film Awards (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

He beat fellow nominees Raul Castillo for We The Animals, Adam Driver for BlacKkKlansman, Josh Hamilton for Eighth Grade and John David Washington for Monsters And Men.

Grant said he was “absolutely astonished and emotional” to have won, and told the audience he was third choice for the part of Hock, behind Sam Rockwell and Chris O’Dowd.

Speaking backstage, he said getting the role which has won him such critical acclaim was “arbitrary and it’s luck”.

Hock is diagnosed with HIV in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Grant said the role was an “homage” to men “wiped out by that disease”.

He said his portrayal of Hock was inspired by Scottish actor Ian Charleson, who died aged 40 in 1990 after being diagnosed with Aids.

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Aubrey Plaza opened the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards by poking fun at the Oscars (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Earlier, Aubrey Plaza opened the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards by poking fun at the Oscars.

The American actress hosted the ceremony, which was held in a tent on Santa Monica beach on the eve of the Oscars.

Nominees for best picture include Eighth Grade, First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Leave No Trace and You Were Never Really Here.

Opening the show, Plaza referenced the controversy over the Oscars host-less ceremony after Kevin Hart stepped aside when homophobic tweets of his resurfaced.

She said: “The network’s first choice to host was no-one, but they’re all booked for tomorrow. So you have me.”

The prizes are handed out by non-profit organisation Film Independent, comprising actors, film-makers and critics.

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