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Oscars 2002 Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 14:50 GMT
Tom Wilkinson: Giving it the Full Monty
Tom Wilkinson
Wilkinson convincingly portrays bereaved American Matt Fowler
Tom Wilkinson has won his Academy Award nomination for best actor with a role far removed from the one which projected him to stardom at the ripe old age of 49.

His portrayal of an unemployed man driven to becoming a male stripper in Peter Cattaneo's huge hit The Full Monty put the British film actor on to the world stage.

Wilkinson was born in 1948 in Leeds, but spent part of his youth in Canada - and has a degree in English and American Literature from the University of Kent at Canterbury.

Tom Wilkinson
He will soon be seen in The Importance of Being Earnest
He started acting at university, and by the early 1990s had established himself in the UK with a series of roles in quality TV dramas, including First Among Equals and Martin Chuzzlewit.

His rendition of Seth Pecksniff in 1994's Martin Chuzzelwit was widely praised, and was followed by a portrayal of Mr Dashwood in 1995's Sense and Sensibility.

The global success of The Full Monty two years later took the whole cast - which included Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, Steve Huison, Paul Barber and Hugo Speer - by surprise.

Screen presence

For Wilkinson it also led to parts in the movies Wilde, Oscar And Lucinda, and Shakespeare In Love.

But his first Oscar nomination has come through his work with a first-time director, Todd Field.

In the Bedroom, about a couple coping with the death of their son, is a painfully realistic portrait of the grief of a comfortable, well-respected middle-aged New England couple, Matt and Ruth Fowler.

Wilkinson, who plays Matt Fowler opposite Sissy Spacek, has a spot-on American accent and a huge screen presence.

He has since said that he felt he and Spacek achieved an on-screen "chemistry".

Some observers tipped him for an Oscar nomination as soon as the film was released.

Now he has completed a new version of Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest and is working on the Lewis Gilbert-directed Before You Go, with Julie Walters and Joanne Whalley.

Countdown to the biggest event of the movie year

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