British director Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner) will be presented with a BAFTA Fellowship during the annual BAFTA film awards to be held February 8 at London’s Royal Opera House.

The Fellowship is BAFTA’s highest accolade in recognition of outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, TV and games.

Previous recipients include Charlie Chaplin, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Helen Mirren received last year’s Fellowship.

“What a privilege to be honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship,” commented Mike Leigh. I’m moved, delighted and surprised.”

Leigh has been one of the British film industry’s stalwarts for over four decades. He made his feature directorial debut with Bleak Moments in 1971. He has won three BAFTAS during his career: two for Secrets And Lies, which also won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and another award for best director for Vera Drake in 2004, which also won the Venice Golden Lion.

Leigh was also awarded a BAFTA special award in 1996 for outstanding British contribution to cinema as well as a John Schlesinger Britannia Award for artistic excellence in 2011.

His most recent film, Mr. Turner,  a biopic of the British painter starring Timothy Spall, was surprisingly overlooked for this year’s BAFTA nominations.