Dame Helen Mirren says she feel guilty about winning an Oscar for The Queen, claiming she fears being unmasked as a “fraud” who can’t act very well.
She beat Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz and Dame Judi Dench to the best actress Oscar in 2007.
Asked to describe how it feels to win an Academy Award, the actress told Variety: “Part of you is terrified they will call your name because the fear of making a fool of yourself is paramount.
“But then it’s an incredible pleasure, to sort of feel like you haven’t been found out – because as actors we always think we’re going to be discovered as frauds.
“It’s joyous, it’s thrilling and there’s a little bit of guilt. It’s not a race. It’s very clear in a sprint of a marathon who’s best, but you can never say who is best at acting or painting or writing. You’re all just as good.”
Mirren did not cry on the podium, but was moved to tears when she touched down at Heathrow on her way home from the ceremony to a hero’s welcome.
“While waiting at baggage claim, someone spotted me and started applauding. Word started travelling, and soon the whole baggage hall was applauding.
“It was so incredible. Of course, I couldn’t resist – I reached into my bag and got my Oscar and held it up. I cried, I have to say. It was so touching and lovely.”
Dame Helen, 69, also offered some advice to whoever wins this year’s best actress award: don’t take your handbag up on stage, as she did.
The actress was also clutching an earring that she had taken off moments before her name was called, because it was pinching her ear.
She said: “I had no hands left. It was very klutzy of me. These are the things they don’t tell you: what do you do with your purse?”
Dame Helen managed to maintain her dignity during another klutzy moment last week when she tripped on the red carpet at the Berlin Film Festival.