That’s Sir Steve, Sir Sam and Dame Olivia, if you please.
Director Sam Mendes, whose World War I film “1917” is causing serious Oscar buzz, is being awarded a knighthood in the latest round of honors handed out by Queen Elizabeth II. Mendes is being recognized for “services to drama” in the annual New Year’s Honors List.
The knighthood means that Mendes should formally be addressed as “Sir Sam,” following the feudal protocol that still remains part of British pomp and pageantry.
Mendes won an Academy Award in 2000 for his direction of “American Beauty.” More recently, he helmed the two recent James Bond outings “Skyfall” and “Spectre,” both of which were blockbusters at the global box office.
Mendes is also an accomplished theater director. “The Lehman Trilogy” and “The Ferryman” both transferred from London to New York.
Singer Olivia Newton-John was awarded a damehood, the equivalent of a knighthood for women, for her services to charity and cancer research along with her iconic entertainment career. The “Grease” star has been active in campaigning for a cure for breast cancer.
Another Oscar winner receiving a knighthood in the New Year’s Honors List, which was unveiled Friday, is director of “12 Years a Slave” Steve McQueen whose critically acclaimed work includes the film “Shame” and most recently the 2018 film “Widows.” McQueen was recognized for services to film.
Playwright Christopher Hampton, best known for his theatrical adaptation of the novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” was also honored. He also adapted it into the movie “Dangerous Liaisons,” starring Glenn Close, which garnered Hampton the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay in 1989. He was also nominated for best adapted screenplay in 2008 for “Atonement,” based on the novel by Ian McEwan.
Chairperson of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Donna Langley received a DBE for her contribution to the film and entertainment industry. The first British female citizen to lead a major Hollywood studio, Langley oversees all production, marketing and distribution for film and television content across Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation and Focus Features; as well as Universal Pictures International and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Additional honorees include “Peaky Blinders” writer and executive producer Steven Knight who was also one of the three creators of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”