He acted in Nikolai Gogol's play, "The Government Inspector," in a British National Theatre production at the Olivier Theatre in London, England with Rik Mayall, Ian Bartholomew, Ron Pember, Tim McInnery, and Nigel Le Vaillant in the cast. Richard Eyre was director.
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[on declining an OBE in 2002] I didn't think I deserved it, really. And also my father died when I was 22 and he was quite an anarchic spirit, and he would have been proud of me to have turned it down. You know how it is, the usual line: 'Oh, I accepted it for my parents.' Whereas I turned it down for my parents.
He won an Oscar for playing John Bayley in Iris
(2001), making him one of 12 actors to win the Award for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Award ceremony (as of 2007). The other ten actors and their respective performances are: Spencer Tracy
for playing Father Edward Flanagan in Boys Town
(1938), Gary Cooper
for playing Alvin C. York in Sergeant York