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Samantha Morton to Receive BAFTA Fellowship

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Samantha Morton, the British actor (She Said, The Whale, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Walking Dead), writer (I Am…Kirsty) and director (The Unloved), will receive the BAFTA Fellowship, the British Academy’s highest honor. 

She will be given the honor at the BAFTA Film Awards ceremony, hosted by David Tennant (Doctor WhoInside Man), in London on Feb. 18.

“As a proud BAFTA member I am honored, profoundly humbled and grateful to BAFTA for giving me this award,” Morton said.

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Anna Higgs, chair of BAFTA’s film committee, lauded her as “a mesmerizing storyteller with incredible range,” adding: “She has made an extraordinary impact on the British film industry – consistently shining a light on complex characters and championing underrepresented stories. On-and-off screen, she always works to break down societal barriers and change the make-up of the screen industries for the better – often against great odds.” She concluded: “Samantha is hugely respected by her peers in Britain and Hollywood alike for her versatility, talent and passion for the craft of acting.”

Born in Nottingham in 1977, Morton joined what was then the Central Junior Television Workshop when she was 12. Within a couple of years, she was acting in theater, “with a stage début at the Royal Court and in hit television shows such as Cracker (1994), Band of Gold (1995–96), and The History of Tom Jones (1997), while her early TV-film roles included Emma (1996) and the lead role in Jane Eyre (1997),” BAFTA highlighted. “Morton garnered international attention in 1997 for her searing performance in Carine Adler’s Under the Skin, earning her a BIFA nomination and the Boston Film Critics Award for best actress. She has been nominated for an Academy Award first for best supporting actress for Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and later for best actress for Jim Sheridan’s In America (2003).”

For her portrayal of child murderer Myra Hindley in Longford (2006) Morton received best actress nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and BAFTA Television Award, and she won a Golden Globe. In 2009, she made her directorial debut with TV film The Unloved, a semi-autobiographical film based in the British children’s care system, which won a BAFTA Television Award for best single drama.

Morton has also starred in such TV shows as Rillington Place (2016) and Harlots (2017-19) along with The Walking Dead, in which she played the iconic villain Alpha. “In 2020, she was nominated for a leading actress BAFTA award for the Dominic Savage drama I Am…Kirsty, which she co-wrote,” BAFTA noted. Her other TV work includes period drama The Serpent Queen (2022) and The Burning Girls (2023).

“Having worked with Darren Aronofsky, Jim Sheridan, Charlie Kaufman, Lynne Ramsay, David Cronenberg, Harmony Korine, Steven Spielberg, Michael Winterbottom and David Yates, on films spanning Morvern Callar (2002) and Control (2007) to The Minority Report (2002) and The Whale (2022), she is beloved by British independent filmmakers and Hollywood titans alike,” BAFTA concluded.

Last year, Sandy Powell, the three-time Oscar-winning costume designer whose credits include Gangs of New YorkShakespeare in LoveCarol and The Irishman, received the BAFTA Fellowship.

Previous BAFTA Fellowship honorees include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Sidney Poitier, Mel Brooks, Ridley Scott, Kathleen Kennedy and Ang Lee.

Christopher Nolan’s biographical epic Oppenheimer is leading the pack of the 2024 BAFTA film nominees with 13 nods, with Yorgos Lanthimos’ black-comedy science fantasy Poor Things earning 11. Martin Scorsese’s Western crime drama Killers of the Flower Moon received nine BAFTA noms, tying with Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest

In the U.K., BBC One and BBC streamer iPlayer will show the ceremony. Streamer BritBox International will present it in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and South Africa. The ceremony will be held at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in the British capital.

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