Dame Judi Dench has another feather to add to her cap, as she has just been announced as this year’s recipient of the Richard Harris Award by the British Independent Film Awards. Bestowed upon performers for “outstanding contribution by an actor to British film,” the award was first established 17 years ago. Previous honorees include Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julie Walters, John Hurt, and Emma Thompson.
“Dangerous on stage, on screen and apparently behind the wheel of a car, Dame Judi Dench and Richard Harris have a lot in common!” said Jarred Harris, whose father the award is named for. “We are delighted that she has agreed to accept this award. Dame Judi has stolen every scene she has ever been in, and stolen our hearts along the way. 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.”
“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 in a statement. “To be recognised with this award, which bears the name of the great Richard Harris and counts some of my favourite actors and actresses amongst its past recipients is a source of deep pride and a very special honour.”
This year’s ceremony, the 21st, takes place on Sunday, December 2 in London. “The Favourite” leads all films with 13 nominations, including Best British Independent Film. Joining it in that race are “American Animals,” “Beast,” “Disobedience,” and “You Were Never Really Here.”