The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) today announced that actor, producer, director and founder of The Imaginarium, Andy Serkis, will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the 73rd EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony on Sunday 2 February in London.
One of BAFTA’s highest honours, the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award is presented annually in honour of Michael Balcon, the British film producer known for his work with Ealing Studios. Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley, co-founders of Number 9 Films, were the recipients at 2019’s Film Awards. Previous recipients include Ridley and Tony Scott, Film4 Productions, Working Title Films, Angela Allen, the Harry Potter series of films, John Hurt, Tessa Ross, Peter Greenaway, BBC Films, Angels Costumes, Curzon and The National Film and Television School.
Through the creation of such characters as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series, Caesar in the Planet of the Apes trilogy, the titular gorilla in 2005’s King Kong, and as Supreme Leader Snoke in the recent Star Wars trilogy, Andy Serkis has both pioneered the evolving art of performance capture and widened the parameters of what it means to be an actor in the 21st century. As a leading actor in performance-capture, Andy Serkis has been integral to the development of this remarkable digital technology, which allows filmmakers to bring to life amazing characters that would otherwise have been almost impossible to accurately recreate onscreen.
Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee said: “Andy’s work on and off screen has been nothing short of revolutionary, inspiring audiences and his peers alike. His pioneering influence as a performer, an educator, a leading innovator and an employer has helped shape the global film industry and the positive impact will be felt for years to come. He’s a truly remarkable ambassador for our industry and a thoroughly deserving recipient of this year’s outstanding achievement award.”
Andy Serkis commented: “I’m deeply honoured and thrilled to receive this award, and count myself extremely lucky to be on such a continually fascinating journey in visual storytelling, one that has given me the opportunity to collaborate with many of the world’s greatest artists, technologists and craftspeople, with whom I’d like to share this wonderful accolade.”
In 2011, Andy founded (with film producer Jonathan Cavendish) The Imaginarium, a production company and digital studio dedicated to believable and emotionally engaging digital characters using performance capture technology for films and games. Andy has consulted on motion capture on a number of films including the 2014 version of Godzilla and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which he also plays the villain Ulysses Klaue in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Black Panther, the latter of which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Performance in a Cast in a Motion Picture.
He has been BAFTA nominated twice, for playing Ian Dury in Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, and for playing Ian Brady on television in Longford. His other film roles include Career Girls, Topsy-Turvy, The Escapist, Deathwatch, 24 Hour Party People, 13 Going on 30, Stormbreaker, The Prestige, Flushed Away, The Cottage, Inkheart, Brighton Rock, Burke and Hare, Wild Bill and The Adventures of Tintin.
He made his directorial debut with Breathe in 2017, and has since directed Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, based on the Jungle Book. He is currently directing Venom 2, starring Tom Hardy.