British actor Pete Postlethwaite has gained a prestigious OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE (OBE) title from Queen Elizabeth II, but admits he's still stunned by the honour.

Film star Postlethwaite - who was once described by Hollywood director Steven Spielberg as "the best actor in the world" - picked up his OBE at Buckingham Palace in London today (09JUN04).

However, the actor is struggling to come to terms with the honour - because he'd never predicted his acting would have such an impact on society.

After collecting his OBE, he said, "I'm less nervous now. It has finally sunk in but it's not the sort of thing you would expect to happen. In fact, it is the last thing you would expect but I'm pretty excited.

"It's just mad. It is weird but wonderful."

Postlethwaite gained recognition from Hollywood in films including AMISTAD, THE LOST WORLD: Jurassic Park, The Usual Suspects and ROMEO + JULIET, but it was his performance in harrowing British movie IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER that earned him an OSCAR nomination.

09/06/2004 17:04