The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is delighted to announce that the Harry Potter film series will receive the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema at this year’s Orange British Academy Film Awards.
JK Rowling and David Heyman will receive the award on behalf of the franchise during the ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House on Sunday 13 February 2011.
Awarded annually, the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema was introduced in 1978 and is presented in honour of Michael Balcon. The first recipients were the Special Visual Effects team for Superman and others include Kevin Brownlow, Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jarman, Working Title, Lewis Gilbert, Channel Four Films and Pinewood & Shepperton Studios.
Starting in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the film franchise from Warner Bros. Pictures has defined a decade of British filmmaking. As well as continually introducing exciting new performers to a global audience, the films have built a reputation for showcasing the wealth of British stage and screen acting talent.
The Harry Potter films have not only created stars in front of the camera, but have also highlighted the expertise within the British craft and technical industries, supporting a vast array of jobs throughout production. Their contribution to the British filmmaking industry was underlined last year when Warner Bros. Pictures, which has shepherded the film series from its inception, purchased Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire. Leavesden Studios has been the Harry Potter base for the past ten years.
The films are nothing short of a box office phenomenon, with the first six films in the series grossing over $5.4billion worldwide, making it the top-grossing film franchise of all time. The numbers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, as well as the anticipation for Part 2, opening on July 15, 2011, should ensure its place in film history for years to come.
Their achievements in filmmaking have been repeatedly recognised by industry peers, with the Harry Potter series garnering an array of nominations and awards at events across the globe. As well as notching up seven Oscar nominations, the series has so far garnered a total of 28 BAFTA nominations: five nominations at the British Academy Children’s Awards and 23 at the Film Awards, including this year’s two nominations in the Special Visual Effects and Make Up & Hair categories. In addition, the films have been nominated four times in the Children’s Awards public vote, winning twice (2003 & 2006 for The Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire respectively); and also won the Orange Film of the Year public vote at the Film Awards in 2004 for The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Finola Dwyer, Chair of the Film Committee commented, “As this great British film success story draws to a close with this year’s eagerly anticipated final instalment, it’s fitting that BAFTA honours the Harry Potter films and their contribution to the British film industry. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate with JK Rowling and David Heyman at the Film Awards.”
Producer David Heyman said, “On behalf of the over 2000 people who worked in front of and behind the camera on each of the Harry Potter films I would like to say how honoured we all are to receive this Award. And thank you to Jo Rowling for entrusting us to bring her magnificent books to the screen.”
“It's a thrill to see the Harry Potter films recognized with such a prestigious honor,” said Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer, Warner Bros. “It’s been gratifying to be part of this great franchise, and we join BAFTA in applauding our extraordinary filmmakers, our wonderful cast, and of course JK Rowling, who started it all with her beloved literary works.”
Daniel Radcliffe who plays the eponymous hero remarked, “I am thrilled that the Harry Potter film series is being honoured with this Award. I have loved every minute of making these films and to me the real heroes are the crew and the huge team of craftsmen that have made all eight of them possible - this Award is a testament to their incredible work.”
Emma Watson who plays Hermione Granger said, “This is a huge honour! I am so proud to have been part of the incredible team both in front and behind the camera that made these films. Thank you to Jo Rowling for writing such wonderful books, to David Heyman for shepherding us all through the past ten years and to all the loyal fans who have been with us throughout”
Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley added, “Thank you so much BAFTA for this amazing Award. We have spent half our lives making these films and are so proud of the pleasure they have given the fans and the contribution they have made to British cinema.”
The ceremony will be hosted for the fifth year by Jonathan Ross and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One. Red carpet coverage will be hosted by Edith Bowman on BBC Three.
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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round Learning & Events programme that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. For further information, visit www.bafta.org.