The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne as Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of EverythingUniversal Pictures

Eddie Redmayne has won the best actor award at the 87th Academy Awards for his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking in biopic The Theory Of Everything.

At the star-studded Oscar ceremony he beat tough competition from Michael Keaton for Birdman, Steve Carrell for Foxcatcher, Bradley Cooper for American Sniper and Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game.

Redmayne had been hot-favourite for the prize since awards season kicked into gear with the Golden Globes in January, where he won the prize. The British star followed that up with a win at the British Academy Film Awards (Baftas) in early February.

The 33-year-old was Britain's best hope of winning a major award at the show and duly delivered. In his excitable speech he promised to polish and look after the statuette, and indulged in a little boy-like jig of joy. He also dedicated the award to the Hawking family and people suffering from ALS.

His performance as Hawking before and after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease has been one of the most critically-lavished of the year and he was a popular winner in Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre.

Hawking himself was a big fan, saying: "I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well. At times I thought he was me. I think Eddie's commitment will have a big emotional impact." The world-famous physicist also revealed that the film made him cry.

James Marsh's biopic was nominated in five categories including best film, best supporting actress for Felicity Jones and best adapted screenplay.

To date the film has made over $100m (£65m) at the worldwide box office from a $15m budget.