Jeremy Irons was the toast of the Taormina Film Fest in Italy on Wednesday (19Jun13) as he picked up a top prize and was hailed by organisers as one of the world's best actors.

The Man in the Iron Mask star arrived at the film festival in Sicily to unveil Trashed, a documentary about the world's waste problems which he produced and starred in.

He attended a screening of Trashed and hosted a discussion for students and journalists, before being handed the Taormina Arte prize during a ceremony at the packed Teatro Antico venue.

Festival artistic director Mario Sesti called Irons "one of the greatest living actors" as he presented him with the award, and Irons drew laughs as he joked, "I'll keep this short, because I have learned tonight that there is nothing more dangerous than a man, a stage, and a microphone."

The 59th annual event was struck by tragedy on Wednesday when it emerged The Sopranos star James Gandolfini, who was due to be honoured with a prize at the closing ceremony of Taormina, died in Rome after reportedly suffering a heart attack.