Bafta to honour Andy Serkis with Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
Andy Serkis, will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the 73rd EE British Academy Film Awards.
Andy Serkis, will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the 73rd EE British Academy Film Awards (Bafta)

Andy Serkis will be honoured with the outstanding contribution to cinema award at the British Academy film awards.

The filmmaker, 55, is currently directing Venom 2 starring Tom Hardy. He previously starred in The Lord Of The Rings and Planet Of The Apes films and co-founded The Imaginarium Studios with film producer Jonathan Cavendish.

Serkis said: "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."

The accolade is one of Bafta's highest honours, and Serkis follows in the footsteps of previous recipients including Ridley and Tony Scott, Film4 Productions, the Harry Potter series of films, John Hurt, Peter Greenaway and BBC Films.

Andy Serkis' long-awaited 'Jungle Book' adaptation is said to be darker than Jon Favreau's Disney version and stars Serkis, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Naomie Harris.
Andy Serkis in a motion capture suit (Disney)

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.

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“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 of "The Lord of the Rings" during The 2003 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Annual Awards Gala at Tavern on the Green in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)
Andy Serkis starred in 'The Lord of the Rings' films (Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)

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.

Serkis was credited for helping pioneer the evolving art of performance capture and widen the parameters of what it means to be an actor in the 21st through characters such as Gollum in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series, the eponymous gorilla in 2005’s King Kong and as Supreme Leader Snoke in the recent Star Wars trilogy.

As such, Serkis has been integral to the development of performance-capture technology, which enables filmmakers to bring to life characters which would be otherwise very difficult to accurately recreate on screen.

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.

Serkis made his directorial debut with Breathe in 2017, and has since directed Netflix’s Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, based on the Jungle Book.

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In 2011, Serkis founded The Imaginarium Studios, a production company and digital studio dedicated to creating believable and emotionally-engaging digital characters using performance capture technology.

He has also 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.