It’s a big year for Benedict Cumberbatch. To say that he currently appears to be the most in demand actor in the business seems both obvious, and an understatement. Not only is he garnering significant Oscar buzz for his role as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, but the news was just awash with his recent engagement to British theatre director Sophie Hunter (in an admirably discreet and classy submission to The Times ‘forthcoming marriages’ section).
And now a press release details that he is to be honoured at the 2014 British Independent Film Awards on 7th December. Alongside his nomination for Best Actor, he will receive The Variety Award, which historically “recognises a director, actor, writer or producer who has helped to focus the international spotlight on the UK”.
Considering that Cumberbatch is the UK’s most illustrious and acclaimed (or any other superlative you might care to label him with) export of late and has 7 films in production, as well as a hotly-anticipated role as Hamlet in the Barbican’s 2015 production of Shakespeare’s renowned play, this award seems well-justified.
Cumberbatch commented: “I am delighted to receive this prestigious award and would like to thank Variety and The Moët British Independent Film Awards for this incredible honour. It is made even more special by the recognition of The Imitation Game in this year’s nominations, a film I am very proud to be a part of.”
At various press conferences for The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch has played down the anticipation that he might receive an Oscar nomination and claimed that as long as it shines a light on Turing’s work, or creates greater interest in The Imitation Game, then he is happy.
The Variety Award was bestowed upon Paul Greengrass last year and has previously been awarded to Jude Law, Kenneth Branagh, Liam Neeson, Sir Michael Caine, Daniel Craig, Dame Helen Mirren and Richard Curtis to name a few.
Cumberbatch’s ascent to mega-stardom seemed to begin with his portrayal of the hyper-intellectual Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series, and continued with roles in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Parade’s End and last year’s Academy Award Best Picture, 12 Years a Slave.
So far this year, Cumberbatch has been filming Black Mass, playing Bill Bulger alongside Johnny Depp, and Shere Khan in Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book. He is also part of the voice-cast in DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar, which is released later this year.
He is currently shooting The Hollow Crown for the BBC and Neal Street Productions, in which he plays Richard III alongside Judi Dench. Next he will shoot Lost City of Z, directed by James Gray and based on David Grann’s novel, where he will play British explorer Percy Fawcett, who set out to discover the City of Z in the Amazon in the 1920s.
If one thing seems certain, it’s that this spotlight won’t be fading soon.