Benedict Cumberbatch. Picture: Reuters

Benedict Cumberbatch has been named PETA's "most beautiful vegan" after he switched to a plant-based diet earlier this year.

The 'Sherlock' star - who started following a plant-based diet at the beginning of the year - has been recognised by the non-for-profit organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for ditching animal products from his diet and encouraging his fans around the world to do the same. 

'Selma' director Ava DuVernay - who decided to go vegan after realising that everyone, including animals, should be treated with "respect" and "love" - also bagged the title for the "most beautiful female vegan" of 2018 after beating off stiff competition from the likes of Thandie Newton, Sofia Sisniega and Ellen Pompeo. 

PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange said: "Ava DuVernay and Benedict Cumberbatch are saving animals not only by going vegan, but also by sharing their commitment with the world. The vegan powerhouses behind 'Selma' and 'Doctor Strange' beautifully show what it means to be a compassionate star in 2018."

The annual award has previously been won by the likes of Ruby Rose, Jared Leto, Jenna Dewan, Liam Hemsworth, Carrie Underwood, Kristen Wiig, Miley Cyrus and Jessica Chastain, to name a few.

Benedict has made no secret of the fact he follows a vegan diet and admitted earlier this year that he relied on the goodness of fruits and veggies to help him get into shape for his movie 'Avengers:Infinity War'.

When asked if he lived off egg whites - which are high in protein but low in calories and are often consumed by body builders before a competition - before he started filming for the role, he said: "I eat a plant-based diet."

But it's not just his food choices that are compassionate as the 41-year-old actor refused to wear leather during his shoot with British GQ magazine - choosing instead to sport vegan boots and a suit made of "future wool."