John Hurt is to be awarded a Bafta for outstanding British contribution to cinema.
The 72-year-old actor, who’s enjoyed a film, stage and television career spanning more than six decades, will receive his prize as part of the Orange British Academy Film Awards in London on Sunday 12 February.
Among his famous film roles, Hurt has played Winston Smith in the celluloid adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Rich in A Man for All Seasons and Max in Midnight Express. However, for many, his Bafta-winning lead performance in the 1981 film The Elephant Man is considered one of his finest.
Hurt has also received critical acclaim for his television work, with performances in The Naked Civil Servant and I, Claudius amongst his best remembered.
In more recent times, Hurt has starred in the Harry Potter films, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and narrated the award-winning BBC natural history series, Human Planet.
Tim Corrie, chairman of Bafta, said: “John Hurt is an actor it is both exciting and fascinating to watch. He has extraordinary screen presence and brings utter conviction to every role he undertakes. He is one of a kind, an iconic figure, and Bafta is delighted to take this opportunity to honour his outstanding contribution to cinema.”
John Hurt added: “I know that film means a great deal to me but I had no idea that I meant so much to film. I feel very honoured.”
Previous winners of the outstanding British contribution to cinema award include Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jarman, Mary Selway, Ridley and Tony Scott, Working Title Films and Lewis Gilbert. Last year’s recipient was the Harry Potter series of films.