Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, who died Wednesday at 76, in “The Theory of Everything” (2014), but the trophy, he said in his speech, did not belong to him.
“This Oscar, this belongs to all of those people around the world battling ALS,” Redmayne said. “It belongs to one exceptional family: Stephen, Jane, Jonathan and the Hawking children. And I will be its custodian. And I will promise you I will look after him — I will polish him; I will answer his beck and call; I will wait on him hand and foot.”
Redmayne meticulously prepared to play the visionary physicist, whose transcendent mind refused to be bound by the increasing limits ALS placed on his body. The actor released a statement Wednesday remembering Hawking, whom he met five days before he started filming.
“We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet,” Redmayne said. “My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family.”
Felicity Jones, who was Oscar-nominated for her portrayal of Hawking’s first wife Jane in the film, said she was “so sad” to hear of Hawking’s death. “Stephen Hawking pushed the boundaries of who we are and what we believe,” she said in a statement. “An extraordinary human who could bring humor to the most despairing moments and find hope in the unknown. He showed the world that anything is possible. My thoughts are with his wonderful family in this difficult time.”
Hawking previously praised Redmayne’s performance in “The Theory of Everything,” which was based on Jane’s book “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.”
“I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well in ‘The Theory of Everythin’ movie,” Hawking posted on Facebook at the time of the film’s release. “He spent time with ALS sufferers so he could be authentic. At times, I thought he was me. Seeing the film has given me the opportunity to reflect on my life.”