Colin Firth's interpretation of despondent 1960s professor George Falconer in A Single Man won him the main acting prize at Sunday's Bafta film awards.

The award ups the British actor's prospects of taking home an Oscar statuette at next month's Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

Firth stars in Tom Ford's big-screen adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel of the same name. Falconer is middle aged, gay and British. And living in Los Angeles when his longtime lover dies suddenly.

Throughout the movie we see Falconer as he struggles with his loss.

Both Firth and Ford have said the film has a universal message and should not be confined to a gay niche.

“It's really a film about love and isolation that I think all of us feel, so it is very universal,” Ford said at its Venice premiere. “When I see someone who sees the film and says, 'It's a gay story,' I don't even know what they are thinking, it just seems to me a human story.”

Firth was also named best actor last year at the Venice International Film Festival, where the film had its premiere.

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