Bosses of the Northampton-based Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) have praised the Academy Awards for recognising Eddie Redmayne’s ‘brilliant’ portrayal of charity patron Stephen Hawkings with a best actor Oscar.
The British actor scooped the prestigious gong at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday night for his role in The Theory of Everything, where he played scientist Professor Stephen Hawkings, a long term sufferer of Motor Neurone Disease.
On accepting the award from Cate Blanchett, Redmayne, dedicated the award to “all of the people around the world battling” the condition.
Redmayne, who worked with the Northampton based charity while researching the role and even nominated its chief executive to take the ice bucket challenge last year, had already previously won a Golden Globe, Bafta and Screen Actors Guild for the performance.
Chris James, Director of external affairs at the MNDA, said: “We are delighted that the Academy has recognised Eddie for his amazing performance as Professor Hawking.
“Eddie made sure that his portrayal of our MND Association patron was true to the memoirs of an amazing family, as written by his first wife Jane Wilde.”
Mr James said that actor Redmayne spent many hours living with people who had Motor Neurone Disease, “studying the small details of the progression of the disease.”
He added: “Sadly, because of the usual rapid progression of MND, many of these individuals have since passed away.”
One person who met the actor several times was MND sufferer Glenn Phillip.
The 49-year-old from Bushey, in Watford, said watching the film was emotional and he saw how Eddie had used the time he had spent with him:
“I recognised the hands,” he said. “He was very interested in how I wrote and how I used my hands.
“At the time I was still walking a little bit, shuffling around the place.
“Eddie was keen to see how I did that because I had a stick. In the film, Professor Hawking was using a stick quite like me.”
Sally Light, Chief Executive of the MND Association said: “We are incredibly proud of the success of so many of our celebrity supporters at the Oscars this year.
“As an Association we worked with the people behind The Theory of Everything since 2013 and the film will continue to raise awareness of MND globally, with the Oscar for Eddie a fitting accolade for a project that took the responsibility of accurately portraying MND in one family, but on behalf of so many more people, so very seriously.”