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Olivier Awards 2014: Rory Kinnear beats Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston to Best Actor for Othello

The English actor's portrayal of Iago saw him take home the prestigious award

Rory Kinnear has taken home the Olivier Award for Best Actor, beating competition from Henry Goodman, Tom Hiddleston and Jude Law.

The English actor, 36, won for his portrayal of Shakespeare's villain Iago in the National Theatre's production of Othello.

Olivier Awards: Winners list in full

"It was the most thrilling professional performance of my life," he said upon accepting the award from Kathleen Turner.

Hiddleston and Law were both nominated for their titular roles in Shakespeare's Coriolanus and Henry V respectively.

Goodman earned his nod for The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Duchess Theatre - the only performance not penned by Shakespeare, whose 450th birthday will be celebrated later this month.

Speaking to The Independent on the red carpet, Kinnear paid tribute to the lasting power of Shakespeare's plays.

"I think he might have something, judging by the fact that his work is still being performed after 400 years and I'm pretty sure still will be in another 400 years time," he said.

"You do need to have a decent part to have a chance of being nominated and he tended to write those by the bucket load."

Kinnear also praised his co-star Adrian Lester, who played Othello, before confessing to being "so f***ing tired" after the birth of his daughter Hope just three weeks ago.

"Adrian brought the heart to it," he said backstage. "Iago is the absence of heart and Othello has to jump off the top of the mountain to the dark pit at the bottom. Iago is thrashing around there from the beginning.”

Kinnear last won an Olivier Award in 2008 when he was named Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Man of Mode.

He went home victorious from the London Evening Standard Awards in November, sharing Best Actor with Lester, and won two Critics Choice Awards in January.

Kinnear's screen credits include Skyfall, Quantum of Solace and Southcliffe.