Gary Oldman paid tribute to his ex-wife Lesley Manville as he collected the Best Leading Actor award at the BAFTAs for his starring role in 'Darkest Hour'.

The London-born star used his acceptance speech at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday (18.02.18) to pay tribute to his former partner, who was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress gong.

He said: ''I salute my fellow nominees for your beautiful work, and Lesley too.''

Oldman, 59, also paid a special tribute to Sir Winston Churchill, the British wartime Prime Minister who he plays in the acclaimed film.

He explained: ''In those dark, uncertain days in 1940, he held the line for honour, for integrity and freedom for his nation and the world, so I thank you Sir Winston.''

Prior to the ceremony, Oldman - who was married to the actress from 1987 until 1990 - revealed he almost feels like an ''honorary'' member of Sir WInston Churchill's family following his starring role in 'Darkest Hour'.

The British star admitted that he was initially intimidated by the prospect of playing such an iconic figure.

He confessed: ''It was pretty daunting, but the good news is the Chruchill family really embraced the film and the performance. So I feel almost like an honorary family member now.''

Oldman also revealed that he developed a ''creation rather than an impersonation'' of Churchill.

The revered actor - who has also been tipped for success at next month's Academy Awards - shared: ''I read as much Churchill material and watched as much footage as I could. But at the end it's a creation rather than an impersonation.

''You almost start with an impersonation and then move away from it - you have to own it.''