Dench joins an illustrious list of former winners of the award, which is in its 17th year, including Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julie Walters, John Hurt and Emma Thompson. Last year’s recipient was Vanessa Redgrave, who collected the award at the Bifa ceremony from Harris’ son, Jared.
“Dame Judi has stolen every scene she has ever been in, and stolen our hearts along the way,” he said. “Although she hates being called a national treasure and prefers to be thought of as a jobbing actor, she is undeniably both the standard-bearer and the gold standard for British actors.”
Dench’s long and varied film credits include “A Room With a View,” “Notes On a Scandal,” and the recent James Bond franchise, in which she starred as spy boss M.