Actress Elizabeth McGovern believes she was ''too young'' to be up for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the 1981 film Ragtime when she was just 20-years-old.

The 52-year-old Downton Abbey star, who played Evelyn Nesbit in the film, did not feel like she deserved to be in contention for an Academy Award.

Speaking to Grazia magazine, McGovern said: ''I was thrilled to be nominated for an Oscar, but there was a part of me that thought, 'I'm not sure I deserve this year'. I was very young and working with marvellous people.''

The actress said that she initially struggled with her success, adding: ''I was busy growing up and being a professional actor and, at times, that was difficult. Those two things are sometimes in conflict. You have to do all the stupid things kids need to do but you're in the glaring light of public opinion and I think when I was first working it was more uncommon for someone so young to be successful.

''In my day, I found it slightly lonely because my friends were in such a different place with their lives and the people I was working with were so much older. I was in the middle of both worlds.''