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Kenneth Branagh to receive the top accolade at London Critics’ Circle Film Awards

16 November 2015

Acclaimed actor-filmmaker will be honoured with the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film at the critics' awards ceremony on 17th January at The May Fair Hotel.

The UK's top film critics will present Sir Kenneth Branagh with their highest accolade, the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film, at their awards ceremony on Sunday 17th January.

Born in Belfast and raised in Reading, Branagh graduated from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1981 and is now its 16th president. He has enjoyed an acclaimed career as an actor, director, producer and screenwriter. His credits span theatre, TV and film. He notably adapted, helmed and starred in Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. Other directing credits include Peter’s Friends, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in which he co-starred with Robert De Niro, the remake of Sleuth starring Michael Caine and Jude Law, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. In a 34 year on-screen career he has appeared in such films as A Month in the Country, Dead Again, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Othello, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Woody Allen’s Celebrity and Valkyrie.

The recipient of many major screen awards, Branagh won the Best Supporting Actor Bafta for his portrayal of Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn, a role for which the Critics’ Circle also honoured him. Uniquely, as a UK based filmmaker, he holds five Oscar nominations in five different categories. No stranger to the Hollywood blockbuster, he has directed Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and this year’s charmer, Cinderella.

Kenneth Branagh was knighted in 2012 for his services to drama and to the community in Northern Ireland.

In anticipation of receiving this latest award, Branagh said: "As a young filmmaker, I had the privilege of meeting Dilys Powell. She was passionate, rigorous, humane. Her criticism was illuminating, thoughtful and bracing. This recognition in her name is a great honour to me personally and very meaningful. My sincere thanks to the Critics' Circle.”

Dilys Powell was an iconic British author and film critic who pioneered a new style of cinematic journalism. The British Film Institute famously described her as "open to new directions in cinema ... not constrained by the middle class shibboleths of 'good taste'." Her final review, of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, was published in The Times on the day of her death in June 1995.

Recent Dilys Powell Award honorees include Nicolas Roeg, Kristin Scott Thomas, Gary Oldman, Helena Bonham Carter and last year's recipient Miranda Richardson. The award has been given out annually since 1991, when it was presented to Dirk Bogarde.

The 36th London Critics' Circle Film Awards will be presented at the May Fair Hotel on Sunday, 17th January 2016, at a ceremony hosted by actor-filmmakers Alice Lowe and Steve Oram. Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, 15th December.

The red carpet event is sponsored by The May Fair Hotel, Audi and Cameo Productions.

Sir Kenneth Branagh Profile

About The Critics' Circle
Established in 1913, The Critics' Circle is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world, with more than 400 members who work in the UK media as critics of drama, art and architecture, music, film, dance and literature. Chaired by Anna Smith, the Film Section membership is made up of more than 140 UK film critics, broadcasters and writers, including Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw, the BBC’s Mark Kermode and Sight & Sound Editor Nick James, and has presented its awards annually since 1980. 

About The May Fair Hotel
The May Fair is an icon of expressive contemporary design, bringing together boutique attention to detail with the best in hotel service. A legendary luxury hotel with a glamorous past, The May Fair was first opened by King George V in 1927 and offers over 400 luxury hotel bedrooms, including 12 of the capital's most memorable hotel suites; the discreet May Fair Spa; May Fair Kitchen, a delicious top quality restaurant; a 201-seat private screening room and the Palm Beach Casino. The spirit of surrounding Mayfair is captured beautifully, especially in our destination May Fair Bar, breathtaking Crystal Room and opulent Danziger Suite, which between them have played host to some of London's most extravagant society events. 

1991 Dirk Bogarde
1992 Freddie Young
1993 Christopher Lee
1994 Richard Attenborough
1995 Wendy Hiller
1996 John Mills
1997 Michael Caine
1998 John Hurt and Albert Finney
1999 Mike Leigh
2000 Richard Harris
2001 Charlotte Rampling
2002 Lewis Gilbert
2003 Tom Courtenay
2004 Ken Loach
2005 Bryan Forbes
2006 Leslie Phillips
2007 Julie Walters
2008 Judi Dench
2009 Quentin Tarantino
2010 Kristin Scott Thomas
2011 Nicolas Roeg
2012 Helena Bonham Carter
2013 Gary Oldman
2014 Miranda Richardson
2015 Kenneth Branagh

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