Between “Gravity” and his directorial effort “The Monuments Men,” George Clooney — who, lest we forget, shared the Best Picture Oscar for “Argo” a few months back — has what may be another busy awards season lying ahead of him. Even if his on-paper prospects don’t pan out, however, he’ll be accepting at least one award before the year is out, as BAFTA’s Los Angeles division has named him the recipient of their Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.
The Britannia Awards, established by BAFTA/LA as a kind of bridging event between Hollywood and the British film industry, will be presented on November 9, and televised on BBC America the next day. Five awards are presented at the event, but the Kubrick is their highest honor: past recipients include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Sean Penn, Robert De Niro, Jeff Bridges, Warren Beatty and last year’s honoree, Daniel Day-Lewis.
Penn and Day-Lewis both won the award en route to their most recent Oscar wins, though the award recognizes career achievement rather than the year’s work. To use BAFTA/LA’s own wording, the Kubrick winner is “a unique individual, upon whose work is stamped the indelible mark of authorship and commitment, and who has lifted the craft to new heights.” In Clooney’s case, the award is in recognition of his work on both sides of the camera: after all, he has amassed nine BAFTA nominations across the disciplines of acting, writing, directing and producing, winning his first ever BAFTA for “Argo” earlier this year.
BAFTA/LA chairman Gary Dartnall said of his selection: “George Clooney is without question one of our industry’s true icons. His work has captivated audiences from all corners of the globe, and BAFTA Los Angeles is proud to be celebrating his immeasurable contributions to our craft. We are also especially pleased to be continuing our partnership with BBC America, whose support and primetime broadcast of the ceremony will ensure that viewers around the country will be able to celebrate the occasion with us.”
This will be the second year that the ceremony is televised. You may recall that Daniel Day-Lewis made last year’s inaugural broadcast an unexpected talking point when he playfully used his acceptance speech as an opportunity to parody Clint Eastwood’s empty-chair Republican convention routine. (How time flies.) They can’t count on that kind of publicity again, but Clooney’s a reliably charismatic presence at these affairs. Winners in the event’s other categories — British Artist of the Year, the John Schlesinger Award for Excellence in Directing, the Chaplin Award for Excellence in Comedy and the Albert R. Broccoli Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment — will be announced in the coming months.