Recipients of both The Richard Harris Award and The Variety Award were announced today by Johanna von Fischer and Tessa Collinson, joint Directors, The Moët British Independent Film Awards.
Sir Michael Gambon will receive the Richard Harris Award and Jude Law The Variety Award at the awards ceremony on Sunday 9thDecember at Old Billingsgate.
The Richard Harris Award was introduced in 2002 in honour of Richard Harris and recognises outstanding contribution to British film by an actor. Previous winners have included John Hurt, David Thewlis, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter and most recently Ralph Fiennes in 2011.
The honour this year is a poignant one, given that it was Richard Harris’s role of the beloved Hogwarts headmaster, ‘Dumbledore’ in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which Sir Michael Gambon bravely stepped into, following Harris’ passing in 2002.
Sir Michael Gambon’s career as an actor spans six decades, working across theatre, radio, television and cinema. Gambon’s iconic role in the television serial The Singing Detective won him his first of four Best Actor BAFTA TV Awards and roles in dramas such as Maigret made him a household name. The controversial The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover; The Wings of the Dove; Mary Reilly; Sleepy Hollow; Gosford Park; Layer Cake; Charlotte Gray and The King’s Speech are just a few of the credits that have established Gambon as a leading light of the British film industry.
His work in Hollywood includes Michael Mann’s The Insider; Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd. Since staring in the Harry Potter franchise, Gambon is known by audiences of all ages around the globe. Sir Michael Gambon’s most recent film role was in Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet which will be released in the UK in January. He is currently on stage starring in All That Fall at The Arts Theatre.
Jude Law will pick-up the Variety Award which recognises an actor, director, writer or producer who has helped to focus the international spotlight on the UK. The Variety Award was received last year by Kenneth Branagh and has previously been awarded to Liam Neeson, Sir Michael Caine, Daniel Craig, Dame Helen Mirren and Richard Curtis to name a few.
Jude Law is a quintessentially British actor who has become a truly international star. Never afraid to challenge himself, Law has worked with some of the world’s most respected filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg (AI: Artificial Intelligence); Martin Scorsese (Hugo & Aviator); David Cronenberg (eXistenZ); Sam Mendes (The Road To Perdition) Steven Soderbergh (Contagion) and Clint Eastwood (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). Jude Law made a huge international impression with his performance as Dickie Greenleaf in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley for which he was nominated for Academy and Golden Globe Awards and was awarded a BAFTA for “Best Supporting Actor”. He again received Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for his role in Minghella’s Cold Mountain.
In 2009 he took on Hamlet in the West End and later on Broadway. He was nominated for an Olivier and a Tony Award as Best Actor. He was multi-nominated again for “Anna Christie” at the Donmar Warehouse in 2011 and will return to the stage in 2013 as Henry V for director Michael Grandage. Law has consistently proved himself to be a versatile actor and has worked with a host of international filmmakers such as Wong Kar Wai (My Blueberry Nights), Jean-Jacques Annaud (Enemy at The Gates) and Fernando Meirelles (360). Yet Law constantly has a foot firmly planted in the British film industry with roles in Anna Karenina and Minghella’s Breaking & Entering, as well as playing the ever popular Dr Watson in Guy Ritchie’s hugely successful Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which has reinforced his status as one of the most bankable British actors working in cinema today. Jude is currently shooting the very British dark comedy Dom Hemingway in which he plays the title role. His other forthcoming projects include Side Effects – his second collaboration with Steven Soderbergh; Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Both Michael Gambon and Jude Law will be present at Old Billingsgate on the 9th December to receive their awards.
Previous winners of the prestigious Best British Independent Film award include Tyrannosaur, The King’s Speech, Moon, Control, Slumdog Millionaire, The Constant Gardener and This Is England.