British Academy Of Film And Television Arts/Los Angeles (Bafta/La)
To Honor Christopher Nolan And Michael Sheen
At The 19th Annual Britannia Awards
Stephen Fry to Return as Host
Los Angeles, August 3, 2010 -- The British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles® (BAFTA/LA) will honor Academy Award nominated writer/director Christopher Nolan along with BAFTA and Emmy nominated actor Michael Sheen at the 2010 BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards on Thursday, November 4 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.
Nolan ("Inception," "The Dark Night") will receive the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing, while Sheen ("The Special Relationship," "New Moon") will be honored with the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year.
"We could not be more delighted about our first honorees of this year's Britannia Awards, representing two outstanding British talents," says BAFTA/LA Chairman Nigel Lythgoe. "Chris Nolan is a visionary filmmaker who continually raises the bar with each movie he makes, and Michael Sheen is an actor of immense depth who seamlessly tackles drama and comedic roles alike."
Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated actor and writer Stephen Fry will return as Master of Ceremonies for the second consecutive time. His film and TV credits include "Wilde," "Peter's Friends," "Gosford Park," "A Bit of Fry and Laurie," and most recently "Bones" and "Alice in Wonderland."
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts' outreach programs in Los Angeles benefit members and other professionals working within the entertainment industry, as well as the Los Angeles community at large. The British Academy provides exclusive access to screenings, Q & As with talent and filmmakers, conversations with leading UK-based film and television executives and the Heritage Archive, featuring broadcast-quality interviews with distinguished British members of the film and television industries. Educational outreach for students and the Los Angeles community includes an after-school screening program for inner-city youth at the Helen Keller Park Recreation Center and a recent partnership with FilmAid to mentor young filmmakers. Additional programs include seminars in association with local universities and festivals, scholarships for post-graduate programs and recognizing professional and student talent with awards at film festivals throughout the U.S.
Maintaining a long tradition of recognizing the finest filmmaking and television talent, the British Academy hosts a series of social networking events, including the annual Britannia Awards, the Orange British Academy Film Awards Brunch, the Annual Garden Party, the British Comedy Festival & Awards Dinner and the Awards Season Film and Television Tea Parties in January and September. Its members vote annually for the prestigious Orange British Academy Film Awards as well as for the International Program category at the British Academy Television Awards. The annual Britannia Awards are held every November in Los Angeles, where it has previously honored such luminaries as Kirk Douglas, Sean Penn, Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine and Martin Scorsese with Britannia Awards for Excellence in both film and television.
Christopher Nolan is an award-winning filmmaker who has been recognized for his work as both a director and screenwriter. Nolan is currently preparing to release the sci-fi actioner "Inception," which he wrote, directed and produced. The Warner Bros. film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and will open on July 16.
Nolan was most recently honored with a Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award nomination for his groundbreaking work on "The Dark Knight." He also shared in nominations for a Writers Guild of America Award, with Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer, and a Producers Guild of America Award, with Emma Thomas and Charles Roven. "The Dark Knight" opened to worldwide critical acclaim in July 2008, and broke numerous box office records on its way to becoming the top-grossing release of the year.
Nolan previously co-wrote and directed the dramatic thriller "The Prestige," the action hit "Batman Begins," and directed the suspense thriller "Insomnia." The filmmaker had earlier written and directed the innovative crime drama "Memento," for which he received Oscar® and Golden Globe nominations for Best Screenplay, as well as a DGA Award nomination. The film won four Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Nolan's directorial debut, "Following" will be re-mastered and re-released by early 2011.
Recognized as one of the most talented of the new generation of British actors, Michael Sheen is equally accomplished on stage and screen. Sheen most recently has been seen - and heard -- in a wide range of performances: as Aro, the leader of the vampire royalty Volturi, in the blockbuster The Twilight Saga: New Moon; as Brian Clough in The Damned United, the darkly humorous story of confrontational former Leeds United boss' doomed 44-day tenure as manager of the reigning champions of English football in 1974, which he received accolades both here and in the U.K. for his performance; the voice of the white rabbit in Tim Burton's box office hit Alice in Wonderland; his Emmy-nominated performance in HBO's The Special Relationship, which Sheen reprised his role as Tony Blair; and had a recurring role on the hit comedy show, 30 Rock, in a guest appearance as a love interest for Liz Lemon (Tina Fey).
Among Sheen's upcoming projects are: Tron, Beautiful Boy, and Disney's Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. Sheen recently wrapped shooting on the comedy Jesus Henry Christ, which he stars opposite Toni Collette; and later this summer, he will be shooting Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
Sheen's other recent film credits include the hits Frost/Nixon, Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans, Music Within, Blood Diamond, and The Queen. Along with the film, Sheen received many accolades for his performance of British Prime Minister Tony Blair including winning the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor and a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He previously portrayed the British Prime Minister, also under Frears' direction, in the television movie The Deal. The Queen marked Sheen's third collaboration with Frears. Sheen made his feature film debut in the director's Mary Reilly. Sheen's other film credits include Kingdom of Heaven; Laws of Attraction Timeline; Bright Young Things; The Four Feathers; Wilde; and Unthinkable.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London where, in his second year, Sheen won the coveted Laurence Olivier Bursary for consistently outstanding performances. While still a student at RADA, Sheen landed a starring role opposite Vanessa Redgrave in 1991's When She Danced, which marked his West End debut. Sheen has since earned an Olivier Award nomination for his performance as Mozart in the West End production of Peter Hall's revival of Amadeus, which he went on to make his Broadway debut in the U.S. production in 1999. He also received Olivier Award nominations for his performances in Look Back in Anger and Caligula, for which he won a London Critics Circle Award and the London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor in 2003. He has also received acclaim for his performances in such plays as Romeo and Juliet, Peer Gynt and Henry V.
On television, Sheen's credits include his heart-breaking portrayal of performer Kenneth Williams in the BBC's Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa! which Sheen received a BAFTA nomination and the 2006 Royal Television Society Best Actor Award. He also received a 2005 BAFTA-nomination for his performance in Dirty Filthy Love.
Most recently on stage, Sheen starred during the summer of 2007 on Broadway in the hit Frost/Nixon, in which he played Frost to Frank Langella's Nixon. Sheen received a Distinguished Performance Award nomination from the Drama League for his work, among other accolades. This followed the sold-out run in London, where Sheen received nominations for Best Actor from the Olivier Awards and Evening Standard Awards. Sheen will return to the stage next year starring in Hamlet, which will premiere at the Young Vic in London. He is spearheading the production with director Ian Rickson (Jez Butterworth's hit Jerusalem), whom Sheen approached to direct the play.
In January 2009, Sheen was announced on The Queen's annual honor list as being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his contributions to the arts.
Born in Wales, Sheen grew up in Port Talbot, the industrial town renowned for producing Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins.