Actress Menna Trussler, 86, 'thrilled' after starring in Oscar-nominated film

An 86-year-old actress from Swansea has been nominated for an Academy Award after voicing a character in a short animated film.

Menna Trussler appeared in 'Affairs of the Arts', which has been nominated for Best Animated Short Film at this year's Oscars.

She's worked with the same animators for many years and has voiced the same character for them for the last two decades.

Menna told ITV News: "[The film] is all about Beryl who is almost like a teenager in style and she's sort of always got to have a project, must have a project.

"She throws herself wholeheartedly into the subject, whichever she's got. Last time I did it, it was photography, this time it's something else.

"It's gradually altered over the years actually without me knowing it, because 20 years is quite a long time to follow one character."

Menna voices the character of Beryl in the animated film. Credit: 'Affairs of the Arts' / University of South Wales

Menna has had a glittering career and has starred in films such as August alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins, Pride, musicals, and television shows such as Little Britain.

The Swansea native first got into acting in her 40s, when people told her she was "too old" to be performing and starting her career on stage and on screen.

She said: "Well I was old according to most people. I was 42, which is old to start and, of course, I've had 40-odd years now.

"But at the time [they would say] "Oh she's too old to start at that age", but it wasn't. It was right for me then and it suited me then, so I enjoyed it."

Menna worked alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins during her glittering career. Credit: Menna Trussler

On working alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins, from Port Talbot, Menna said: "Oh, it was a wonderful experience, I must say, because we were dealing with a real class actor here.

"And even in rehearsals, I couldn't believe it, I'd think "Gosh, I'm sitting here and across there was Anthony Hopkins.

"We had a rehearsal in London and we had already made the film, so we already knew it very well and it was a hot day, and we were getting very bored and tired doing our rehearsal and he turned in a performance that I've never seen the likes of before.

"It was absolutely brilliant and we all felt it was such an honour to be there, just for the rehearsal, and, I've never seen it done before, but everyone clapped when he finished.

"It was something I'll never forget."

Menna has also starred in musicals such as 'Gypsy'. Credit: Menna Trussler

Menna had always wanted to be a performer after meeting a woman called Diana from the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), who was staying with her family during World War II when she was just a small child.

She recalled her fond memories of Diana, the woman who inspired her to take to the stage: "One of the WAAFs who was staying with us was my favourite and she could just about do everything. She could draw and when she used to go home on leave and she used to illustrate them beautifully... she helped me learn how to play the piano... and she was an actress, so that I think was the first step in that direction.

"Well, I became an actress later on and I always used to think that I'd love to see her again, but maybe one day she would be in the audience and I'll be on stage and she'll come backstage and say "Guess who I am?!", so I lived with that for a while.

"One night I was at a friend's house having a dinner party and a few drinks and the phone rang and the woman next door to me said "I've found her."

"Now, she left her house during the war years when I was five and I was now in my mid-40s... and I told her in a letter how much I admired her... and how she influenced my life totally... really, she changed my life.

"She said "Let's meet", so she came to Swansea and I was in a play touring at the time and she came to see me act, which was a great thrill for me."

A doll has been created of the character Beryl in Menna's honour. Credit: Menna Trussler

On her Oscar nomination, Menna said: "I'm thrilled to bits, and not only for myself to think 'Oh my gosh we're in a film that's hopefully going to have an Oscar', but for them [the animators], they've worked so hard over the years and it's taken over their entire lives and they deserve every moment of this. I do hope they win, it will be wonderful."

The 94th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California and will be broadcast at around 1am UK time on Sunday 27 March 2022.

'Affairs of the Arts' has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in this year's ceremony.

Menna and her family won't be attending the awards in Los Angeles, but a special 13-inch doll knitted to represent Beryl, the character in the animated film, will be taken on the red carpet in her honour.