05/12/2011 02:57 GMT | Updated 05/12/2011 09:58 GMT

Michael Fassbender Named Best Actor At Moet British Independent Film Awards, For 'Shame'

Michael Fassbender joked that it was his director Steve McQueen's fault he kept appearing nude on the big screen.

The Irish-American actor scooped the Best Actor prize for his role in Steve McQueen's film Shame at last night's Moet British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) in London, and was in jovial mood.

"Do I like to take my clothes off? Not really," chuckled Fassbender, That's Steve's deal. You've got to ask him why he keeps asking me to take my clothes off - maybe there’s something in that."

He added more seriously, "With the story, that was just the way it went."

Fassbender revealed the BIFAs had a special place in his heart, as it was the first time he ever received an acting award - for his equally exposing role in Hunger, also directed by McQueen, and that the list of fellow nominees for Best Actor was "surreal":

"I can remember being influenced by Gary Oldman and Brendan Gleeson. They were heroes of mine when I was 16, so it's pretty humbling to see their names there."

And he praised the independent film scene, as "feeding the entire industry. If there are interesting things happening in that sector of the business, everything else feeds from that, so it's a very important place".


Elizabeth McGovern at the British Independent Film Awards - 'British films are better than American ones'

Olivia Colman Tells Tyrannosaur Doubters: 'Go And Watch The F***ing Film'

Ralph Fiennes - 'Vanessa Moves Me As An Actress And As A Woman'

Fassbender's role in Shame sees him playing a man struggling with sexual addiction, something he called an opportunity to explore "the elephant in the room":

"I had the opportunity to meet some people suffering with this condition, particularly one person, dealing with intimacy and the fear of intimacy as the real crux of the problem there. So I'm very grateful to that person in particular for being brave and open with me, and telling me stories, and with that information, I could re-read the script, and just hope I was awake and aware when I arrived on set, and could go in the direction Steve (McQueen) and the other actors wanted to go in."

And he reserved his highest praise for his co-star Carey Mulligan:

"We were going to some pretty dangerous places where you need to trust one another, protect, provoke and surprise each other," he remembered of their time on set. "Carey is an intelligent actor, also very sensitive, spontaneous and responsive, so she took me to a place where I asked, 'how did I get here?' and it was because I was trying to keep up with her.

"I never think about whether it's going to be a success. I just know by about 30 pages in whether I'm interested or whether or not it's struck me in the gut. I can't articulate it, it just feels right.

"And you just hope it's going to be important to other people. That's what’s so great about this (Shame) - it feels important. Success is a dangerous word, fear to fall flat on your face is ok, because you can get back up again and keep trying things out. Some things stick to the wall, some things don't, that's in the hands of the gods.

"There's no other secret - work hard, do the homework, have fun."

The cream of British screen were all there last night - check out our Slideshow of the great and good at the Moet British Independent Film Awards...