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Mike Leigh to be honoured with BAFTA Fellowship

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MUMBAI: On 8 February, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts will present Mike Leigh with the Fellowship at the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House, London.

Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games.

Fellows previously honoured for their work in film include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese and Alan Parker. Helen Mirren received the Fellowship at last year’s Film Awards.

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

BAFTA chief executive officer Amanda Berry OBE added, “Mike Leigh is one of Britain’s finest filmmakers, so I am delighted that we will honour him with the Fellowship, recognising his outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, at this Sunday’s EE British Academy Film Awards. He is a true innovator, an artist and an exceptional filmmaker, which is why last year the Film Committee voted unanimously to award him the Fellowship, the highest honour that BAFTA bestows. We look forward to celebrating his remarkable career.”

A day before the ceremony, Leigh will join a number of close colleagues and friends at a special BAFTA lunch held in his honour at the Awards’ Official Hotel, The Savoy. The lunch will be hosted by Jeremy Hackett of Hackett London, BAFTA’s Official Menswear partner.

Writer-director Leigh trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, at the Camberwell and Central Schools of Art and at the London Film School, of which he is now the chairman.

Leigh's award-winning career features three BAFTA wins, a BAFTA Special Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema and a John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence from BAFTA Los Angeles last year, as well as a further 11 BAFTA nominations. He has seven Academy Award nominations and has been celebrated in Cannes, winning the prestigious Palme D'Or for Secrets & Lies, and at Venice, where Vera Drake won the Golden Lion.

Leigh's first feature film was Bleak Moments; this was followed by the full-length television films Hard Labour, Nuts In May, The Kiss of Death, Who's Who, Grown-Ups, Home Sweet Home, Meantime and Four Days In July, as well as the television studio version of Abigail's Party.

Leigh's other feature films are BAFTA-nominated Naked and BAFTA-winning Secrets & Lies (for Outstanding British Film and Original Screenplay), which also received five Academy Award nominations and two Golden Globe nominations, and Career Girls, Topsy-Turvy, All Or Nothing, Vera Drake (for which he won BAFTA for director), Happy-Go-Lucky and Another Year. Most recently he has written and directed Mr. Turner, which received four nominations at this year's EE British Academy Film Awards and four Academy Award nominations.

Leigh has also written and directed over twenty stage plays, which include Babies Grow Old, Abigail's Party, Ecstasy, Goose-Pimples, Smelling A Rat, Greek.

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