Benedict Cumberbatch on "Imitation Game," sex-bomb status

Although Benedict Cumberbatch has been nominated for his first Oscar, playing British math genius Alan Turing, he is already one of the most recognizable faces in show business.

He's become a regular on the red carpet with roles on the small screen like "Sherlock" and the big screen in the Oscar-nominated "The Imitation Game."

Cumberbatch is having what's known in Hollywood as "a moment."

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"'Moment' for an actor is like saying, 'Ah, enjoy it, this is it,'" Cumberbatch told CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy. "There's something always defensive in my mind that goes -- 'Is that it then? I mean, it can't get better than this. I can't imagine it ever will.' But at the same time I am going to get better. I am going to get better as an act-- it's why we're here."

In his latest film, Cumberbatch portrays Turing, the code-breaking genius that helped win World War II but was later persecuted for being gay and committed suicide.

"The man was and is still regarded quite rightfully as the forefather of computer science, the forerunner, the inventor of it," Cumberbatch said. "To bring him to other people through the film for me is -- it's a huge honor personally and something I feel very strongly about. This man needs recognition."

Recognition is not something Cumberbatch is currently lacking. His sudden appeal has him playing a part he never expected: sex symbol. One group of his fans, nicknamed the "Cumberbitches," describe themselves as "the most glorious and elusive society for the appreciation of the high cheek-boned, blue-eyed sex bomb that is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch."

Benedict Cumberbatch on being a "sex bomb"

"That's when you have to remember it's all fun and games, but very nice all the same," Cumberbatch said.

He said he relishes his role as a sex bomb.

"It's great being a sex bomb -- it makes me giggle. So, you know, in a way I take it as a compliment," he said. "It's a lot to do with a projection of the work or how I come across rather than what I've got when I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, because I've had that s--- for the last 10 odd years and the obsession's not -- wasn't there at the beginning."

The obsession went into overdrive in 2010 when Cumberbatch became the BBC's "Sherlock Holmes."

He played a creepy Khan in the latest "Star Trek" film and employed his broad British baritone as the voice of a dragon in "The Hobbit."

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Cumberbatch said it is "surreal" to be in the company of his acting idols, close enough to photobomb Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes.

"But then you have a conversation and you realize that they're actors -- we do the same job. So suddenly it sort of weirdly levels out and that's even weirder," Cumberbatch said. "When you're like 'Hey Meryl, how are you, how was your Christmas?' Just people. Every day peoples."

The actor is now 38 years old and glad fame has found him later in life when he's better able to handle it.

"Lots of stuff in my life is happening, which is truly phenomenal," Cumberbatch said. "I'm 38 and I've finally settled down and you know my private life couldn't be in a more sort of spectacularly wonderful place."

He just got engaged to theater director Sophie Hunter and they are expecting their first child. He doesn't like talking about any of that, but he did announce his engagement in the Times of London.

"Which seems an utterly hypocritical thing for someone who doesn't like to talk about their private life to do," he said. "But it's just a very traditional format to announce an engagement, you know, it just seemed like a thing I would have done if I wasn't in the exalted and weird position of being famous for my work."

Winning an Oscar would only turn up the heat on his red-hot career and the passions of those devoted fans.

He said he keeps the buzz from changing him by remembering that it's going on around him -- that it's not him.

"It's something else. At best you're being recognized for something you love doing, but yeah, it's bizarre," Cumberbatch said. "I mean, it's great, but it's bizarre."