Sam Mendes, Olivia Newton-John, and Steve McQueen are just a few of the people who have made Queen Elizabeth's UK New Year's Honours List for their work over the years. The list was just announced on Friday and it's a pretty big deal for anybody who was added and has been added over the years.
Sir Elton John was originally knighted in 1998, but he has been honored yet again this year when he was elevated to the honors system's highest level, Companion of Honor, which only 65 people can hold the honor at one time. The honor is given to those who've "made major contributions in the arts, science, medicine, or government over an extended period of time."
Director Sam Mendes is being awarded a knighthood in the latest round of honors from Queen Elizabeth II. The director is being recognized for "services to drama" in the annual New Year's Honors List. His World War I movie 1917 is bound to be a contender at the Academy Awards. British-born Olivia Newton-John has become a Dame, as she is being honored for her "services to charity, cancer research and entertainment." Newton John is currently helping to find a for a cure for breast cancer. The Grease star just reunited with John Travolta and is extremely honored by the Queen's recognition. She had this to say.
"I am extremely excited, honored and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me."
12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen was recognized for services to film. McQueen also has Shame and Widows under his belt for his contributions. In addition to the aforementioned honorees, dozens of Holocaust survivors were given knighthood honors by Queen Elizabeth II "for services to Holocaust Education." The majority of the honorees are receiving the award for "their outstanding community service," along with contributions to the world of arts and entertainment.
Winners will receive their medals during at least 30 separate Investiture ceremonies held throughout 2020 at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth II knights the honorees with a sword that previously belonged to her father, George VI. Honours recipients are announced twice a year, once in the New Year's Honours List, and once on The Queen's official birthday. Separate military lists are published known as Operational lists and cover military activity overseas.
Throughout history, monarchs have rewarded "those who have shown service, loyalty or gallantry with gifts or titles." Post-medieval times, physical gifts were replaced by the awarding of knighthoods and of membership within Orders of chivalry, "accompanied by insignia such as gold or silver chains." Early in the 19th Century, the honorees were spread further than just aristocracy and high-ranking military figures. This led to entertainment and the arts being recognized down the road to where it is today. CNN was the first to report about the lengthy list of 2020 honorees.