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Dame Judy Dench Honoured with BFI Fellowship

23 June 2011

The BFI is proud to announce that Dame Judi Dench has accepted a prestigious BFI Fellowship Award. Presented last night by BFI Chair Greg Dyke during the BFI’s annual Chairman’s dinner at BFI Southbank, the award is in recognition of Dame Judi’s outstanding contribution to film and television. The award joins Dame Judi’s hugely impressive accolades which include an OBE (Order of the British Empire), DBE (Dame of the British Empire), Companion of Honour, Academy Award, nine BAFTAS awards, three Laurence Olivier Awards, a Golden Globe and numerous nominations.

Dame Judi Dench said ‘For someone who was told in 1959 that they would never make it in the film industry I feel incredibly surprised and privileged to be receiving this Fellowship from the BFI.’

Greg Dyke said: ‘Dame Judi Dench is one of the world’s finest, most respected actors. She has a truly extraordinary talent and we are delighted and honoured that she has accepted a BFI Fellowship - the highest accolade the BFI can bestow. Dame Judi’s contribution to British film and television has been outstanding for over 50 years, she is a national treasure with an international reputation.’

The award is in the gift of the Board of Governors, and it is intended to recognise “outstanding achievement in film and television”, given to those who have helped shape film and television culture in the UK. Judi joins an eminent list of BFI Fellows that include Peggy Ashcroft, Dirk Bogarde, Richard Attenborough, Alec Guinness, Maggie Smith, Bernardo Bertolucci, Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Jack Cardiff, Jeanne Moreau and Mike Leigh.

Dame Judi Dench – Biography

Since playing Ophelia in Hamlet at The Old Vic Theatre over 50 years ago, Judi Dench has garnered wide popular and critical admiration for a career marked by outstanding performances in both classical and contemporary roles. She has won numerous major awards - including an Academy Award, nine BAFTA Awards and three Laurence Olivier Awards – for work which has encompassed stage and screen. In recognition of her many achievements, she received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1970, became a DBE (Dame of the British Empire) in 1988, and in 2005 was awarded a Companion of Honour.

Her distinguished list of film credits include iconic performances as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown, for which she won a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, and was nominated for an Academy Award, and Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love, for which she received an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is also known internationally for her role as ‘M’ in the latter Bond films - Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

Judi has been Academy Award-nominated for performances in four other films: Lasse Hallstrom’s Chocolat, for which she was also nominated for a Golden Globe; Iris, directed by Richard Eyre, for which she also won a BAFTA Award; Mrs Henderson Presents, directed by Stephen Frears, for which she was further nominated at the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes; and Notes On A Scandal, directed by Richard Eyre, which also brought her BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.

Her other film credits include: Tea With Mussolini, directed by Franco Zeffirelli; A Room With a View and A Handful of Dust, both of which brought her BAFTA Awards for Best Supporting Actress; 84 Charing Cross Road, directed by David Jones; Henry V and Hamlet, both directed Kenneth Branagh; and Nine, directed by Rob Marshall. Most recently she has filmed Jane Eyre, directed by Cary Fukunaga, My Week with Marilyn, directed by Simon Curtis, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, directed by John Madden, all of which are set for release in 2011.

Judi Dench is also revered for her television roles, her work including The Last of the Blonde Bombshells, for which she won a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy nomination, and the long-running hit BBC sitcom, As Time Goes By. Most recently she has starred as Miss Matty in the critically acclaimed BBC series Cranford, for which she received Best Actress nominations at the BAFTA Awards, the Golden Globes and the Emmy Awards, and Cranford: Return to Cranford for which she was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

Judi’s achievements on screen are mirrored by her celebrated career on stage. She has won Laurence Olivier Awards for Anthony and Cleopatra, Absolute Hell, and A Little Night Music (all at The National Theatre), and her performance in Amy’s View, directed by Richard Eyre, brought her a Critics Circle Award and an Olivier Award Nomination when it played in London (at The National and Aldwych), followed by a Tony Award for Best Actress when the play transferred to Broadway. Her other theatre credits include: The Royal Family, directed by Peter Hall; The Breath of Life, directed by Howard Davies and co-starring Dame Maggie Smith; All’s Well That Ends Well, for the RSC; Hay Fever, directed by Peter Hall; The Merry Wives of Windsor, for the RSC; Madame de Sade, directed by Michael Grandage for The Donmar West End, and, most recently, Peter Hall’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Rose Theatre, Kingston.

About the BFI Fellowship

The Fellowship of the British Film Institute was created in 1983 to coincide with the BFI’s 50th anniversary. On that occasion the British film industry gathered in the Guildhall for a televised event at which the first group of Fellows were bestowed - Marcel Carné, David Lean, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Satyajit Ray and Orson Welles.

Since its creation, the BFI Fellowship has been awarded to key figures in British cinema including Peggy Ashcroft, Dirk Bogarde, Alec Guinness, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier, Vanessa Redgrave and Mike Leigh. Also recognised have been such film industry luminaries as Jack Cardiff, Sydney Samuelson and Jeremy Thomas, and some of the giants of world cinema, including Michelangelo Antonioni, Abbas Kiarostami, Akira Kurosawa, Jeanne Moreau, Elem Klimov and Bernardo Bertolucci.

The BFI Fellowship also celebrates achievement in the world of television with such names as Alan Yentob, Jeremy Isaacs, David Rose, Michael Parkinson, Lynda La Plante, Lord Bernstein and Verity Lambert all receiving the award.
Since 1983 a total of sixty seven Fellowships have been awarded.

About the BFI

The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:
• Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
• Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
• Investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
• Promoting British film and talent to the world
• Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences