The Award comes months before the festival itself, whose second edition will take place over April 5-10.
That said, few would question the merit of “The Wire” star as its first recipient. For many critics the crowning achievement of HBO, “The Wire” compounded the respect that TV series were commanding ever since “The Sopranos,” confirming to anew generation of TV covers the artistic power and ambitions of drama series as it set new standards in its insistent attention to authentic detail and far larger themes shaping its event.
“His breakthrough as Det. McNulty in ‘The Wire’ is one of the starting points of the New Golden Age of series,” said Canneseries artistic director Albin Lewi in a statement announcing the Award.
Since “The Wire,” West has pursued an illustrious career on stage and small and big screen, playing, for example,Noah Solloway in Hagai Levi and Sarah Treem’s “The Affair.” He will next be seen as Jean Valjean in Andrew Davies’ upcoming adaptation of “Les Misérables” for the BBC.
The Excellence Award was presented to West in the presence of Cannes mayor David Lisnard, Reed Midem chief executive Paul Zilk and Canneseries managing director Benoît Louvet, Lisnard making a speech which described in brief West’s career
As a British actor, West almost inevitably accepted his honor with a sense of humor, referencing “Les Misérables” and “The Wire.”.
“The Mayor just told me that watching ‘The Wire’ inspired him to become a politician,” West commented.
He added: “I just hope, when he mentioned [names] from David Simon to Victor Hugo, that he models himself more on Jean Valjean the Mayor of Montreuil than he does on Carcetty the Mayor of Baltimore.”