The owner of the best name in show business, Benedict Cumberbatch has been a ubiquitous presence this year. Hell, he’s a pretty ubiquitous presence simply at the Toronto Film Festival, which opens with his turn as Julian Assange in “The Fifth Estate” tonight. He’ll also be at the fest with supporting roles in two very different awards hopefuls: “12 Years a Slave” and “August: Osage County.”
Meanwhile, his 2013 work slate sees that prestige triple-feature bookended with roles in two super-sized franchises: we’ve already seen his much-praised villain in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” while his voice as the titular Smaug will be an asset to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” at Christmastime. All that, and he has his second straight Emmy nod for Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries under his belt: last year for “Sherlock,” this year for the period romance “Parade’s End.” (As for the BAFTAs, he has four nominations for his TV work, though he’s never won.)
If only in terms of sheer volume, then, BAFTA Los Angeles could hardly have picked a more worthy candidate for their annual British Artist of the Year honor. He’ll receive the award at the organisation’s annual Britannia Awards ceremony on November 9 — which airs the next day on BBC America. George Clooney (Stanley Kubrick Award for Excellence in Film), Kathryn Bigelow (John Schesinger AWard for Excellence in Directing) and Ben Kingsley (Albert Broccoli Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment) have already been named as honorees at the US-meet-UK ceremony, with a couple more yet to be announced.
“Benedict Cumberbatch has had a remarkable year, and as one of the UK’s leading talents he truly exemplifies the continued respect that British talents have garnered around the globe,” said BAFTA LA chairman Gary Dartnall, while award committee chairs Rebecca Segal and Deborah Kolar gushed: “The brilliance, intelligence and charisma of rising star Benedict Cumberbatch has secured his place among the acclaimed British actors who have commanded the screen over the years,”
Past recipients of the British Artist of the Year include Rachel Weisz, Kate Winslet, Tilda Swinton, Emily Blunt, Michael Sheen, Helena Bonham Carter and last year’s winner, Daniel Craig.