18/01/2012 13:32 GMT | Updated 19/03/2012 05:12 GMT

This Time, It's Personal For Kenneth Branagh, BAFTA-Nominated For 'My Week With Marilyn'

So, let’s cut to the chase, Mr Branagh, which feels better - a nomination for a Golden Globe, or one for a BAFTA?

"There's just no denying how personal BAFTA recognition feels," he explains, following the announcement that he's been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, for his turn as Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn.

"The film is a kind of love letter to British filmmaking - filmed at Pinewood, with all of that British talent behind the camera.

"And I was playing a man who, despite being a world icon, was British to the core. Many of BAFTA's members even have clear memories of working with him, so it feels very special to me."

That'll be Laurence Olivier, the man to whom Kenneth Branagh was always compared as he cut a dash through British stage and screen in the heart of the 1990s. If it seems to his fans as though Branagh's career has come full circle, how does it feel to play him to such acclaim?

"When I started acting, he was unquestionably the actor who dominated the world of theatre, film and television." remembers Branagh. "He was so all-inspiring that anyone doing the same roles would suffer by comparison.

"But I was so inspired by what he did, that playing him was in some ways repaying a debt of gratitude. The most thrilling reactions to the picture have been from people like Tony Hopkins and Derek Jacobi, who worked closely with him. It's a strange way of saying thank you to the great man."

Branagh is far too smart to be drawn on possible winners on the night, and experience has taught him how to approach the Awards, for which My Week With Marilyn has been recognised with six nominations:

"You can't have any expectations except surprise," he surmises smoothly.

"BAFTA is now such a big deal from an international perspective that one of the loveliest parts is the excitement and the rest of the world coming to sit down and have dinner.

"People might imagine it's backbitey and competitive, but that's not my experience. We're all united in the many failures and disappointments we've had over the years, we share those bruises, so when it's a time of celebration, the camaraderie between everyone is just understood. It's an evening of delightful back and forth between your fellows."

The BAFTA Awards will be presented on Sunday 12 February. My Week With Marilyn is in cinemas now.