Prepared a speech? Absolutely not! Richard E Grant revels in his first major Oscars season success

It is, of course, what every modest Oscar nominee says – that they haven’t prepared a speech. But Richard E. Grant really hasn’t.

"Absolutely not, no, what would be the point?" the veteran British actor told The Sunday Telegraph, adding that it was "written in stone" he would not win on Sunday night.

"I’m just enjoying the ride. I’m nearly 62 and at that age usually actors get put out to grass like old Dobbie. This happening to me now, for the first time, is amazing. Temporary membership of the A-list!”

After a career that includes 127 acting credits Grant has been nominated for best supporting actor for his turn as grifter Jack Hock in "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" But he said there was a “98.5 per cent chance” the "absolutely brilliant" Mahershala Ali would win for race drama "Green Book," and deservedly so.

"What’s made it all so exciting is knowing who’s who’s going to win. It means I can genuinely have fun," said Grant, as he was feted at the British Consulate in Los Angeles with daughter Olivia, 30.

The most exciting thing? Potentially meeting Barbra Streisand, who he wrote a fan letter to when he was 14.

He is certainly enjoying his moment in the sun of Hollywood, taking selfies with fellow Oscar nominees Amy Adams and Regina King and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Lady Gaga and Emily Blunt.

Grant has also posted on Twitter film of himself “dad dancing” with his daughter at the WME pre-Oscars party in LA, along with a selfie alongside fellow stars Dan Stevens,  Darren Le Gallo, Amy Adams and Rebel Wilson. He has also posted a picture of himself being kitted out in his Oscars ceremony suit by Andrew Weitz, who describes it as "something regal".

Bookmakers have Grant second favourite in his category, but if he is right about his chances – or lack of them – then Britain’s best hope of an acting Oscar probably lies with Olivia Colman, for her portrayal of Queen Anne in "The Favourite".

The Oscars love a monarch, as evidenced by three British stars winning for playing kings and queens over the last 12 years – Colin Firth for George VI in "The King’s Speech," Dame Helen Mirren for Elizabeth II in "The Queen," and Dame Judi Dench for Elizabeth I in "Shakespeare in Love".

However, Colman is up against Glenn Close, who has been nominated six times before, and never won. “I think it’s just time,” said one of the 8,000 Academy members who vote for the Oscars.

"I loved Olivia Colman, and would have voted for her, but I just think it’s Glenn’s turn.”

Britain’s Rachel Weisz is also nominated as best supporting actress for playing Sarah Churchill in The Favourite, Christian Bale is nominated for his portrayal of Dick Cheney in "Vice," and Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of Queen, is Britain’s hope in the best picture category. Its American star, Rami Malek, is favourite for best actor.

The race for best picture is the widest open ever, with prizes awarded by the various Hollywood guilds in the run-up to the Oscars all going to different films for the first time.

Seven films won one prize each, with the producers’ guild going for "Green Book," the directors’ guild for Spanish film "Roma," and the actors’ guild for superhero movie "Black Panther".

The 91st Oscars has been beset by controversy after the host, comedian Kevin Hart, withdrew when he was found to have made homophobic comments.

For the first time in 20 years there will be no host. Instead, Queen have been drafted in at the last minute to open the show, with Adam Lambert singing. Brian May, the Queen guitarist indicated it had been fraught behind the scenes.

He wrote on social media: "After much drama (drama is what it’s all about, right?!) we have been engaged to Tear it Up, in person, live and dangerous, one night only. Thank you, Oscars people – we will make you proud!"

Show producers are desperate for the band to engage fans after the 2018 ceremony was the least watched ever, with 26.5 million viewers, a 20 per cent drop. Host Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes last year at the expense of Donald Trump were regarded by some as overly political.

Roma and The Favourite are the most nominated films with 10 each. If Roma, leader with the bookmakers, wins best picture it would be a watershed moment for Hollywood, the first time a film made primarily for TV by an internet streaming service has triumphed.

Netflix, which made the movie, has conducted the most lavish awards campaign ever, even buying a Los Angeles billboard company as it splurged adverts along the Sunset Strip Despite critical acclaim for the film about a domestic worker, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, some Oscar voters are not keen to reward it.

One Academy member, a film director, called it "the most expensive home movie ever made". But Richard E. Grant disagreed. "Roma should win. I hope so,” he said. He certainly rates its chances higher than his own.