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Newcomer Alex Sharp prevailed over veterans such as Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy when he captured the Tony Award for best actor in a leading performance in a play for his role as an autistic teenager in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

But the Broadway first-timer insisted he didn’t view the statue as a sign that he was better than his fellow nominees.

“You can’t compare art,” Sharp said backstage at the Tonys on Sunday. “My fellow nominees are all extraordinary actors.”

“I feel blessed to say I’m equal to them,” he added. “That’s where the victory lies. Not over my competitors.”

The most rewarding aspect of working on “Curious Incident” has been the response from autistic audience members and their families, he said.

“People from that community…are spoken to by this part and they feel like the production helps to create compassion and empathy which I think is something that’s missing in society,” he said.

The message of the show is one that applies to more than people with behavioral difficulties, he noted.

“Be less afraid to be different,” said Sharp.

In his speech during Sunday’s telecast, Sharp noted that at this time last year he was graduating from Julliard, thanking the producers of “Curious Incident” for taking a chance on “a blank resume.” Asked if he’d be able to keep his feet firmly planted on the ground given his early brush with success, Sharp joked, “It’s too late. I’m already stuck up and decadent.”