This year, BAFTA Los Angeles is partnering with IGN to bring the 2017 AMD British Academy Britannia Awards to viewers all around the country! The livestream of this year’s ceremony, which will honor Aziz Ansari, Kenneth Branagh, Matt Damon, Ava DuVernay, Claire Foy, and Dick Van Dyke, will begin at 8:15pm PT on Oct. 27.
Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy
The Britannia Award is the latest kudo for Aziz Ansari, co-creator and star of Netflix laffer “Master of None.” The award “recognizes talent whose popularity and cultural impact exemplifies the uniquely transcendent quality of excellent comedy.”
“[Ansari’s] recent streak of ground-breaking work makes him a deserving recipient,” says BAFTA Los Angeles chairman Kieran Breen. “Aziz’s thoughtful and intelligent humor seamlessly traverses cultural and national boundaries.” Ansari’s “Master of None,” which he created with Alan Yang, has won the Emmy Award for comedy writing two years in a row, in addition to nine other Emmy nominations in 2016 and 2017 combined. He also appeared as Tom Haverford throughout all seven seasons of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” In 2015, Ansari sold out two performances at Madison Square Garden, where he filmed his fourth comedy special, which debuted on Netflix that March; he continues to perform standup around the world. Moreover, Ansari has appeared on the big screen in films including “This Is The End” and “I Love You, Man.” He has lent his voice to animated series such as “Bob’s Burgers” and films including “Epic” and “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” In 2015, he released “Modern Romance,” his New York Times-bestselling book about dating in a world consumed by technology.
— Taryn Nobil
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Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment
The Northern Irish multihyphenate has been nominated for five Academy Awards across five different categories, as well as received multiple BAFTA awards for his work including “Henry V” and “Wallander.” Branagh will also have his hands and feet immortalized in cement on Oct. 26. Coming off Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” the actor-director-producer-screenwriter will direct, produce and star in the upcoming adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” Throughout his expansive career he’s worked in theater, film, television and radio. He’s also had his hand in a number of Shakespeare adaptations, including “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Hamlet,” and “Othello.”
— Rebecca Rubin
John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing
DuVernay, director of “13th” and “Selma,” is among the few women to receive the directing trophy from BAFTA Los Angeles. Recipients of this award “are deeply respected, distinctive and innovative directors, whose contribution as both technicians and artists represents the zenith of the directing profession,” according to the org.
“Ava is both a fearless director and a champion of talent, who has used her platform to shed light on some of the most important issues facing the world today,” says BAFTA L.A. chairman Breen. “She has brought together talents from the U.S. and U.K. for her projects, and successfully crafted work that resonates with audiences around the globe, making her incredibly deserving of this honor.” DuVernay, who worked for years as a publicist, broke out with her 2014 historical drama “Selma,” which earned an Oscar best picture nomination and won for the song “Glory.” She also received widespread acclaim for her 2016 documentary “13th,” which explored racial inequality in the U.S. through the lens of the country’s corrupt prison system. The doc was also nominated at the Academy Awards and won three of the eight awards it was nominated for at this year’s Emmy Awards.
— Taryn Nobil
Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award
Damon first entered mainstream public consciousness when he and Ben Affleck won an Oscar for the screenplay of “Good Will Hunting.” Since then, the actor, writer, and producer has worked on films including “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Martian,” “Invictus” and most famously as former government assassin Jason Bourne in the “Bourne” series. This year he stars in pal George Clooney’s “Suburbicon,” which premiered at the Venice film festival.
In 2006, Damon co-founded H20 Africa, now known as Water.org, which brings clean water and sanitation to countries around the world. The Stanley Kubrick award is given to “a unique individual, upon whose work is stamped the indelible mark of authorship and commitment, and who has lifted the craft to new heights.”
— Matthew Fernandez
British Artist of the Year
Foy is considered one of the United Kingdom’s most respected modern actresses.
Her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix series “The Crown,” won both SAG and Golden Globe awards and noms from the Emmys and BAFTA.
“Claire is the perfect encapsulation of the enduring legacy of British talent succeed-ing on a global stage,” Breen says. “Her performances this year have been nothing short of phenomenal, including of course her iconic role in ‘The Crown,’ portraying the longest-ever serving British monarch in history.”
She is already getting praise for “Breathe,” which premiered at the Toronto fest and will be released in October. She co-stars with Andrew Garfield in Andy Serkis’ directorial debut. And she will soon begin work on Damien Chazelle’s 2018 release “First Man,” playing the ex-wife of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling).
Foy will receive the award for British Artist of the Year presented by Burberry.
— Matthew Fernandez
DICK VAN DYKE
Britannia Award for Excellence in Television
There is some irony in Van Dyke’s honor from a British organization. The Brits famously have never forgotten his Cockney accent in “Mary Poppins” and even younger actors such as Daniel Radcliffe have remarked on it. The comedian himself said: “I appreciate this opportunity to apologize to the members of BAFTA for inflicting on them the most atrocious Cockney accent in the history of cinema.” He will return to the world of Mary Poppins in the upcoming Disney film “Mary Poppins Returns” as Mr. Dawes Jr.
His seven-decade career has seen him tackle radio, Broadway, television and film. He has won five Emmys, a Tony, a Grammy, the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, and been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
The celebrated actor began his career in entertainment with his “Flight Time” radio show while serving in the Air Force, but it really took off when Van Dyke won a Tony for his performance in the Broadway production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
— Matthew Fernandez
What: AMD British
Academy Britannia Awards
When: Oct. 27
Where: Beverly Hilton