Mel Brooks has been named this year’s recipient of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ Fellowship, it was announced Wednesday. The actor, director and producer will receive the award from Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, who serves as president of BAFTA, at the British Academy Film Awards, which take place at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday.
“Mel Brooks is a truly unique and multi-talented filmmaker. We are absolutely thrilled to award him the Fellowship,” said Amanda Berry, chief executive of BAFTA.
The BAFTA Fellowship is the body’s highest honor. It recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games. Recent recipients include Terry Gilliam, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker, Mike Leigh and last year’s honoree Sidney Poitier.
“I am not overwhelmed, but I am definitely whelmed by this singular honor,” said Brooks. “To be included among such iconic talents is absolutely humbling. In choosing me for the 2017 Fellowship I think that BAFTA has made a strangely surprising yet ultimately wise decision.”
Brooks was nominated for BAFTA’s best screenplay award for his 1974 film “Blazing Saddles,” but ultimately lost out to Robert Towne for “Chinatown” and “The Last Detail.” He had previous shared the organization’s Animated Film Award in 1964 for his three-minute short “The Critic.”
Also a composer and songwriter, and creator of hit stage-show “The Producers,” Brooks is one of only 12 people in history to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.