Richard E. Grant was told he ''looked too weird'' to make it as an actor when he was studying drama at university.

The 61-year-old actor has revealed that when he was studying drama at the University of Cape Town his adviser predicted that he wasn't ''cut out'' for Hollywood because of his looks.

Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter's 'Awards Chatter' podcast, he recalled: ''He said, 'I don't think that you really are cut out - or are going to make it as an actor - because you look too weird.' ''

Grant admits he didn't think it would be possible for him to break into the film business, and he suspected he would spend his entire career as a stage actor ''doing Chekhov in the theatre''.

He said: ''I thought I was going to spend my whole life doing Chekhov in the theatre, It didn't really cross my mind that it would be possible to ever be in a movie - that's what happened overseas or in America or in Hollywood, which was this fabled land on the other side of the planet.''

This year, Grant received his first ever Oscar nomination for the Best Supporting Actor prize for his performance as Jack in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' in which he stars alongside Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel, who attempts to revitalise her failing writing career by forging letters from deceased authors and playwrights.

The 'Withnail and I' star went on to explain that filming the drama was made easier by the fact that he and Melissa became friends, and they have remained close pals ever since.

He said: ''It was helped by the fact that we got on so well, and have stayed friends ever since.''