SAM Rockwell won best supporting actor for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri at the Bafta Awards 2018 last night.

But who is the American actor, 49, and why did he mention the late Alan Rickman in his acceptance speech?

Sam Rockwell accepted the Bafta Award for Best Supporting Actor
Rex Features

Who is Sam?

Born in San Mateo, California in 1968, he is the child of two actors, Pete Rockwell and Penny Hess.

The family moved to New York when he was two, before his parents split when he was five.

After spending much of his childhood living in San Francisco, California with his father, he moved to  New York after finishing school to train as an actor.

He started off in small TV roles for Lifestories: Families in Crisis and Law & Order, before pursuing a film career.

The star has been with his long-term girlfriend, the 43-year-old actress Leslie Bibb, since 2007.

Sam won an award for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
AP:Associated Press

What films has he been in?

Sam first appeared in films The Search for One-eye Jimmy (1994), Glory Daze (1995), Mercy (1995), Basquiat (1996), Lawn Dogs (1997), and Box of Moon Light (1996).

By the late 1990s he had graduated on to bigger movies, such as The Green Mile (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999), Charlie’s Angels (2000) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005).

Since then he has starred in Frost/ Nixon (2008), Moon (2009), The Winning Season (2009) and Conviction (2010), among others.

In 2017, he starred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri for which he won a Bafta Award for Best Supporting Actor in February 2018. He has also been nominated for an Oscar for the same role – his first Academy Award nomination.

Sam dedicated his award to friend Alan rickman who passed away in 2016
Getty – Contributor

How did he mention Alan Rickman in his Bafta 2018 acceptance speech?

Sam won a Bafta for Best Supporting Actor in February 2018 for his role as Dixon in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.

He dedicated it to his late friend Alan Rickman, who died in January 2016.

The Hollywood star began his acceptance speech with a reference to the British actor, who he appeared alongside in the film Galaxy Quest in 1999.

He said: “There’s a quote, it might have been Alan Rickman, who said ‘there are no great actors, only great roles.’

“It might be Alan, but that’s certainly the case with a Martin McDennis script. He’s annoyingly handsome to be as talented a writer and director as he is… Thank you Martin I love you.’

He ended his speech with another mention of the Harry Potter actor, who passed away aged 69 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Sam said: “I’m very lucky to be here tonight, thank you to the British academy. This is for my pal Alan Rickman, I’ll see you at the bar, thank you.”

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