Colman, who last month won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in The Favourite, joins the likes of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett and Martin Scorsese in receiving the award.
She received the award at the annual BFI Chairman’s dinner, hosted by BFI Chair Josh Berger, from Yorgos Lanthimos, who directed her in The Lobster and The Favourite.
Bonham-Carter, Richard E. Grant, David Tennant, Jim Broadbent, Richard Curtis, Tobias Menzies, Anne Marie-Duff, Tom Hollander, Peter Morgan and Andrew Scott were all in attendance to celebrate Olivia’s award.
Colman said, “I didn’t know what to expect this evening, turns out it’s a bit like a surprise birthday party… on the back of a lovely year.”
Lanthimos said, “There isn’t an actor who can infuse each moment onscreen with such great humanity, drama and humour. No one can appear so fragile, magnetic, fierce, funny and real from one second to the next, or all at the same time.”
Berger added, “I am thrilled the BFI has given its highest honour, the BFI Fellowship, to Olivia Colman, at such an exciting point in her career. Olivia is a brilliant comic actor and one of the industry’s finest dramatic performers. Her ability to be relatable in such a diverse range of roles generates incredible warmth and admiration from audiences. The Favourite is firmly up there as one of the best films of recent years and showcases Olivia’s extraordinary and nuanced performance, which is fittingly being acknowledged by critics and audiences all over the world.”