Rhondda-born Art Director and Production Designer, Leslie Dilley, to receive the 29th Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television Award
BAFTA Cymru Awards will be broadcast on BAFTA social channels at 19:00 BST on Sunday 25 October 2020
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in Wales, BAFTA Cymru, has revealed the Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television Award recipient for this year’s British Academy Cymru Awards, taking place on 25 October 2020.
The 29th Outstanding Contribution Award will be presented to Art Director and Production Designer, Les Dilley. Dilley is the first Production Designer to be honoured with the Award.
Les Dilley was born during WWII in his mother’s childhood home, in the town of Pontygwaith, in the Rhondda Valley. He won an Oscar for Star Wars in 1978 and for Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, which were shared with others from the Production Design team. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Art Direction on Alien in 1980; Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back in 1981 and The Abyss in 1990.
Dilley attended Willesden Technical College from age 13-23. At age 15, he started working as an apprentice plasterer at the Associated British Picture Corporation, and was encouraged by a classmate to apply for a job at Pinewood Studios. After Pinewood told him there were no open positions available, Dilley went on to complete his five-year plastering apprenticeship at ABPC.
By age 21, Dilley made his way into Pinewood as a master plasterer and worked on many legacy films including, From Russia With Love. In 1966, Dilley began his career in the Art Department, as a junior draughtsman.
He worked his way up to Art Director on The Three Musketeers in 1973. His tenure as an Art Director continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s with films such as Star Wars (1977), Superman (1978), Alien (1979), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Empire Strikes Back (1980), Never Say Never Again (1983) and Legend (1985).
During the 1990s to 2000s, Dilley primarily worked as a Production Designer and the first film that Dilley was invited to production design was on An American Werewolf in London (1981).
In the following decades notable films he production designed include The Abyss (1988) The Exorcist III (1990), Casper (1995), Peacemaker (1997), Men of Honor (2000), Pay It Forward (2000) and Cold Creek Manor (2003). Dilley has also made cameo appearances in his production designed films, including Guilty by Suspicion (1991), Diabolique (1996), Deep Impact (1998) and others. Dilley bookended his career in the UK with his last project, the TV series, Teacup Travels (2014-2016), which he production designed in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Dilley said, “It is such an honour to be recognised by my Welsh kinship at BAFTA Cymru for this award. I hope my journey will encourage aspiring artists to find their passion in this field. I am so fortunate to have had this career in the motion picture industry and that I have been able to collaborate with many talented individuals to make so many diverse films come to life.”
Previous recipients of the Award are Lynwen Brennan (2019) – General Manager and EVP of Lucasfilm; Mavis Nicholson (2018) – Presenter/Broadcaster; John Rhys Davies (2017) – Actor; Terry Jones (2016) – Actor, Writer, Director; Menna Richards (2015) – Broadcaster; Nerys Hughes (2014) – Actress; Dewi Llwyd (2013) – Journalist/Presenter; John Hefin (2012) – Director; Gareth Gwenlan (2011) – Producer; Geraint Stanley Jones (2010) – Broadcaster; Margaret John (2009) – Actress; Glyn Houston (2008) – Actor; Andrew Davies (2007) – Writer; John Humphrys (2006) – Journalist/Presenter; Cliff Morgan (2005) – Actor; John Ogwen (2004) – Actor: Elaine Morgan (2003) – Actress; Jonathan Pryce (2002) – Actor; Siân Phillips (2001) – Actress; Chris Lawrence (2000) – Editor; Vincent Kane (1999) – Journalist/Presenter; Geraint Morris (1998) – Director/Producer; Geraint Rees (1997) – Producer; Pobol Y Cwm (1996); Owen Edwards (1995) – Broadcaster; Kenneth Griffith (1994) – Actor; Sir Harry Secombe (1993) – Presenter; Rachel Thomas (1992).
Angharad Mair, Chair of BAFTA Cymru, said: “The BAFTA Cymru Committee selects those individuals who have excelled in the international film and TV industry who are fantastic ambassadors for Wales and the creative industries as recipients of our Special Awards. Once again this year we are celebrating the illustrious career of an individual whose career has taken him from the South Wales Valleys to Hollywood and some of the most well-known feature films of our times. Les Dilley is a huge inspiration. He was one of the people pushing “that” boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He was responsible for R2D2 on set in the first Star Wars film and worked on the Tunisia set of Luke’s home. He has so many stories from the five decades work on over 40 different feature film and TV projects with the biggest names in the business – George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, John Landis, James Cameron and Mimi Leder. And it all started in Wales. We are looking forward to presenting Les with his special award on 25 October.”
The 29th BAFTA Cymru Awards ceremony will be broadcast on BAFTA’s Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channels at 19:00 BST on 25 October 2020 and will be hosted by television presenter Alex Jones who will be joined by a host of special guests.
The ceremony will take place as a closed studio, socially-distanced show, with nominees invited to accept their awards virtually. BAFTA continues to celebrate excellence across the film, games and television industries and has hosted several Awards shows this year in new socially-distanced and digital formats; including the British Academy Games Awards, British Academy Television Craft Awards and the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards.