Judi Dench will receive the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution to British film at the upcoming British International Film Awards.
Dench joins an illustrious list of former winners of the award, which is in its 17th year, including Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julie Walters, John Hurt and Emma Thompson. Last year’s recipient was Vanessa Redgrave, who collected the award at the BIFA ceremony from Harris’ son, Jared.
“Dame Judi has stolen every scene she has ever been in, and stolen our hearts along the way,” he said. “Although she hates being called a national treasure and prefers to be thought of as a jobbing actor, she is undeniably both the standard-bearer and the gold standard for British actors.”
Dench’s long and varied film credits include “A Room With a View,” “Notes On a Scandal,” and the recent James Bond franchise, in which she starred as spy boss M. She has also worked extensively on stage and TV and is one of Britain’s most established and loved performers. The BIFA award will sit alongside many others she has won, including an Academy Award for best supporting actress in “Shakespeare in Love,” as well as 10 BAFTAs and eight Oliviers.
“It has been my absolute privilege to spend almost 60 years working in the British film industry, one of the most vibrant and creative homes for filmmakers in the world,” Dench said. “To be recognized with this award, which bears the name of the great Richard Harris and counts some of my favorite actors and actresses amongst its past recipients, is a source of deep pride and a very special honor.”
The BIFA ceremony takes place Dec. 2 in London. Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” leads the field of nominations, and “American Animals” and “You Were Never Really Here” also feature in multiple categories.