The award recognizes an actor, director, writer, or producer who has made a global impact and pointed the international spotlight on the U.K.
“When actress Felicity Jones first appeared on your radar, you probably knew she was destined for greatness but you probably didn’t know she would impact so forcefully on all sizes of screens in all kinds of projects,” says Steven Gaydos, Variety’s vice president and executive editor.
Jones most recently starred as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the biographical drama “On the Basis of Sex.” The English actress has also been featured in numerous films over the past few years, including “Rogue One,” “Inferno,” and “The Theory of Everything,” for which she garnered Academy and Golden Globe nominations. Jones has twice been nominated at BIFA, for her performances in “Albatross” and Ralph Fiennes’ “The Invisible Woman.”
“She has infused the ‘Star Wars’ juggernaut with feminine soul as well as womanly grit, and she brought gravity and tenderness to the Oscar-winning ‘Theory of Everything,'” Gaydos continues. “Now she plays a brave woman whose life and achievements loom larger every day. ‘On the Basis of Sex’ is a rallying cry for women’s rights in a time of political crisis, but in the hands of Felicity Jones, Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes a woman we don’t simply admire, but we come to deeply understand her drives and relish the soul that sustains her commitment to justice and equality.”
“It’s an incredible honor to receive this award and, in doing so, to join such an illustrious and inspiring group of filmmakers and actors,” Jones says in a statement. “To support the British film industry on the global stage is a huge privilege and something I feel very proud and lucky to be a part of.”
“The award recipients have all had exceptional careers spanning award-winning independent films and the biggest of Hollywood blockbusters. Felicity Jones is no exception,” BIFA comments. “She is a remarkable actress and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate her spectacular international achievements on home turf.”
Gary Oldman was 2017’s honoree. Past recipients of the award include Benedict Cumberbatch, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Kenneth Branagh, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Paul Greengrass and Helen Mirren.
The BIFA 2018 nominations were announced on Oct. 31. The winners will be unveiled at the ceremony on Dec. 2 at Old Billingsgate, which will mark the 21st anniversary of the awards.