Veteran British Actor John Hurt has been singled out by BAFTA to receive the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema!

John Hurt happy with his Outstanding contribution to British Cinema

Thoroughly deserved and a long time coming! British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) made the announcement on the 27th January ahead of their awards ceremony next month.

And John himself seems overwhelmed by the honour. “I know that film means a great deal to me but I had no idea that I meant so much to film. I feel very honoured,” he said after the announcement.

The Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award was introduced in 1978 to honour the great producer (and grandfather to Daniel Day-Lewis) Sir Michael Balcon. Now Hurt, whose most recent film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is an awards contender, will join fellow recipients: Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jarman and Mary Selway.

Universally acclaimed for his acting talent, Hurt’s vast range of distinguished performances have shaped an impressive career spanning six decades.

He might be well known to younger audiences as the wand maker Mr Ollivander in the Harry Potter franchise, the series which coincidentally won the same prize last year. Hurt had a supporting role in three of the films.

Away from Harry Potter however, he is no stranger to the British Academy, having won three BAFTAs and gained a further four nominations. A notable example is his Best Actor award for his stellar performance in The Elephant Man in 1981.

And that is just the BAFTAs. Aside from his two Academy Award nominations, he has worked alongside industry icons like Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier and Steven Spielberg, and played intriguing characters like Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four and Sir Richard Rich in A Man of All Seasons.

Speaking about John Hurt, the Chairman of BAFTA, Tim Corrie said: “John Hurt is an actor who is both exciting and fascinating to watch. He is one-of-a-kind, an iconic figure, and BAFTA is delighted to take this opportunity to honour his outstanding contribution to cinema.”

The actor will receive the accolade on Sunday 12 February at the Orange British Academy Film Awards in the Royal Opera House in London.

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