Entertainment & Arts

Emma Thompson to receive Bifa film honour

Emma Thompson
Image caption Emma Thompson is the only artist to have received an Academy Award for both acting and screenwriting

Emma Thompson is to be honoured at the British Independent Film Awards next month.

The Oscar winner is to receive the Richard Harris Award - which recognises outstanding contribution to British film by an actor.

"It is a very special award, in the name of an incredible actor who inspired so many people during his career," she said.

The ceremony takes place on Sunday 7 December at London's Old Billingsgate.

Previous winners have included John Hurt, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon and Julie Walters in 2013.

Thompson added: "I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of my peers who have received this award before me, and look forward to celebrating a fantastic year of British independent filmmaking on 7 December."

She is the only person to have received Academy Awards for both acting and screenwriting. She won her first statuette for her role as Margaret Schlegel in 1992's Howards End and her second for her adaptation of Sense and Sensibility (1995), for which she was also nominated for best actress.

She also has Oscar nominations for her acting work in The Remains of the Day and In the Name of the Father, both in 1994.

Thompson made her feature film debut opposite Jeff Goldblum in the 1988 comedy The Tall Guy. Her many other films include Henry V, Dead Again, Love Actually, Nanny McPhee and its sequel and Sybil Trelawney in the Harry Potter films.

More recently she played Mary Poppins author PL Travers opposite Tom Hanks in Saving Mr Banks and Lady Eastlake in period drama Effie Gray, which she also wrote.

As previously announced, Benedict Cumberbatch will receive the Variety award for helping "focus the international spotlight on the UK".

The Bifas celebrate British films made for less than £20m. This year's winners will be decided by a jury chaired by Tom Hooper, the Oscar-winning director of The King's Speech.

The contenders for best film are:

  • Calvary
  • The Imitation Game
  • Mr Turner
  • Pride
  • '71

In the best actor category, Cumberbatch will go head-to-head with Timothy Spall, who is nominated for his portrayal of JMW Turner in Mike Leigh's film.

The most nominated film is '71, about a soldier in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, which is shortlisted nine times.

A complete list of this year's nominations can be found on the official Bifa website.

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