James Corden proved he was ‘the governor’ when he won best leading actor in a drama for his hit show One Man, Two Guvnors at the Tony Awards in New York.

James, who was acclaimed for the London run of the show, beat a host of Hollywood superstars to the award, including James Earl Jones, Frank Langella, John Lithgow and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Fighting back his emotions as he picked up his Tony award, the 33-year-old paid tribute to his girlfriend, Julia, who gave birth to the couple’s son five days before rehearsals for the production began.

He said he was ‘overwhelmed’ at being nominated alongside such highly-regarded actors, saying: “To be on a list with you was enough and holding this, it honestly just reminds me that there is no such thing as best. Honestly, I am overwhelmed.”

James said he shared the award with the show’s ‘brilliant’ cast and crew, and thanked producer Bob Boyett, ‘who took a huge risk bringing this ridiculously silly play to your city’.

Meanwhile, British director John Tiffany has picked up a Tony for best direction of a musical for bittersweet production Once. The show, Tiffany’s Broadway debut, has already picked up three other awards – for best orchestration and best sound design, while Enda Walsh took home the award for best book of a musical.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice missed out on the Tony award for best musical revival. Despite having two nominations – for Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, they were beaten to the gong by the Gershwins’ Porgy And Bess.

The Tony Awards are an annual celebration of excellence of Broadway theatre.