Sir Alan Parker is to be awarded the British Academy fellowship at this year's Bafta Film Awards. The accolade, which is bestowed annually to recognise an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, will be presented to the Evita director during the ceremony on Sunday 10 February.
Parker's career - which has spanned over 40 years - began with his work in the advertising industry, directing award-winning commercials including the famous Cinzano series starring Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter. After graduating to feature films, he went on to write the screenplay for 1971's Melody before directing the critically-acclaimed Midnight Express for which he earned an Oscar nomination for best director.
Parker, whose other movies include Bugsy Malone, Mississippi Burning (which brought a second Oscar nod) and Pink Floyd's The Wall, said: "When you make your first film, you're sure it will be your last. And then you squeeze your eyes together and suddenly, forty years later, you're at Bafta getting an award like this. I'm of course enormously flattered and honoured."
Chairman of the Academy, John Willis, added: "Sir Alan Parker is a hugely distinctive film-maker, and a man of uncompromising vision and personality. He has made an immense contribution to the British film industry, receiving a wide range of critical and public acclaim for his writing, producing and directing across almost 40 years of film-making.
"The incredible 19 Baftas his films have won indicate the esteem in which he is held by his peers, as well as the outstanding nature of his work."
Previous recipients of the prestigious fellowship have included Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Stanley Kubrick, Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Lee. Last year the honour was awarded to Martin Scorsese who has collected five Oscar nominations and one Academy Award during his 50-year career.