Chiwetel Ejiofor will be this year’s recipient of the British Independent Film Awards’ Richard Harris Award. Introduced in 2002 in honor of the legendary Richard Harris in recognition of an outstanding contribution to British film by an actor, the award will be presented to Ejiofor at this year’s ceremony on December 6.
Previous winners include John Hurt, David Thewlis, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Julie Walters and Emma Thompson last year.
The award is bestowed upon Chiwetel Ejiofor in recognition of his exceptional service to the film industry, not just here in the UK but internationally as an ambassador for British film.
“I am so happy this award is going to Chiwetel,” said Jared Harris, actor and son of Richard. “Although the recipients of this award have all been embraced by the establishment, they all came from outside it, fought their way in on the strength of their talent, claimed their place and changed the status quo. A journey which describes Chiwetel’s career perfectly. His talent is immense, it has brought him deserved worldwide recognition, and he is in his prime! I hope this award inspires British filmmakers to take advantage of him and build films around his talent.”
Chiwetel’s credits include caught the attention of Stephen Spielberg’s Amistad, Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things, Richard Curtis’ Love Actually and Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning Twelve Years A Slave. Most recently he has starred in Ridley Scott’s The Martian and Secret In Their Eyes opposite Julia Roberts. He has John Hillcoat’s Triple Nine with Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck and Aaron Paul and Marvel’s Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton in the pipelines.
The BIFA’s also announced their nominations with Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster leading the way with seven; 45 Years and Macbeth with six nominations each. Amy, Brooklyn and Ex Machina have five, and High-Rise and Suffragette each received four nominations.