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Hugh Grant awarded BFI Fellowship

Hugh Grant in Love Actually

Story by Jack Foley

HUGH Grant has been awarded a BFI Fellowship.

The honour was bestowed upon the actor by the British Film Institute at a dinner in London on Tuesday night (February 23, 2016) by the film producer and co-chairman of Working Title, Eric Fellner.

The BFI said that Grant, with films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, had “redefined the British leading man for a generation”.

Its chairman Greg Dyke said: “With impeccable comic timing and huge doses of his unique, ironic self-deprecating and very British charm, Hugh always pulls off the hardest thing of all – a seemingly effortless performance. I can assure you it’s not.

“Hugh’s acting talents are prodigious and his contribution to cinema enormous. He is a British icon and has been making literally billions of people all over the world laugh, cry – and fall in love with him of course – for over 30 years.”

These comments were backed by Fellner, who added: “Hugh is one of those extraordinary British actors whose effortless performance and onscreen charm has endeared him to generations of audiences worldwide.

“His success has helped British film as a whole carve out a place in the world with a distinct quality that easily rivals the best to come out of Hollywood and other countries. For that contribution alone, he deserves this remarkable honour from the BFI.”

Aside from the obvious rom-coms that helped turn Grant into a household name, the actor has also enjoyed a wide and varied career. His first major film role was as the handsome upper-class Englishman repressing his homosexuality in Maurice, for which he won the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival, shared with James Wilby, who played the title role.

He went on to star in Ken Russell’s Lair of the White Worm and Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon before redefining his career with Four Weddings and the innumerable romantic comedies that followed – from charming hits such as Notting Hill, Love Actually and Bridget Jones to less memorable turns in the likes of Two Weeks Notice and Music & Lyrics.

However, for every dud there has been an About a Boy – while, of late, Grant’s career has been peppered with more interesting choices such as his supporting role in last year’s spy caper The Man From UNCLE or his multiple roles in the interesting Cloud Atlas.

He will next be seen starring alongside Meryl Streep in Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins, about a deluded opera singer.

Picking up the prize, Grant himself remained modest, saying: “This is such a lovely surprise. And a great honour and I’m very grateful to the BFI for thinking of me.”

Grant now joins such esteemed company as Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, John Hurt, Elizabeth Taylor and Sir Michael Caine.

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