Mark Rylance thanks Steven Spielberg for inspiring his Oscar win

Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Mark Rylance has paid tribute to Steven Spielberg for inspiring him on the set of 'Bridge of Spies' - the film which earned him his accolade

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Mark Rylance at the Oscars

Mark Rylance at the Oscars

Mark Rylance has thanked his 'Bridge of Spies' director Steven Spielberg for helping him win an Oscar.

The 56-year-old British thespian won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award at the ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday night (28.02.16) for his portrayal of Soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel in the director's historical thriller, which also starred Tom Hanks.

Rylance has praised Spielberg, 69, for being an incredible "leader" on set and for bringing the best out of him, and therefore giving him the chance to win the prestigious accolade.

Speaking on the Oscars red carpet after he picked up his golden statuette, he said: "Steven is a leader, he can do anyone's job, but he so loves what he does and he's very encouraging and therefore all the people around him become experts at their jobs. So on the first day you realise, 'Oh the man pulling the focus on the camera, I've never seen someone do that so calmly and so quietly and effectively.' You gradually realise you are surrounded by little genius' with everything they do."

Discussing how Spielberg inspired his performance in the film, he added: "It's a bit like getting to job for a superior football team if you're a football player in one of the lesser leagues. And suddenly you think, 'Right, I must do something with the ball when they pass it to me.' "

Rylance's background is in theatre and he was the first artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe in London - holding the position for 10 years from 1995 until 2005.

He readily admits he is as surprised as anyone else with his Hollywood success.

When asked how he felt about his Oscar win, Rylance modestly said: "I can't see it, it's a strange thing acting. Fortunately in the theatre you never see yourself but in film you do and to me I'm totally unbelievable. You just can't see it."

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