The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is delighted to announce that John Hurt will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the Orange British Academy Film Awards ceremony at London's Royal Opera House on Sunday February 12. Universally acclaimed for his acting talent, Hurt's vast range of distinguished performances has shaped an impressive career spanning six decades.

The Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award, introduced in 1978, is presented annually in honour of Michael Balcon. Previous recipients include Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jarman, Mary Selway, Ridley and Tony Scott, Working Title Films and Lewis Gilbert. Last year's recipient was the Harry Potter series of films.

Hurt has starred in a variety of remarkable film roles working alongside some of the most important figures in the industry including Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton and Steven Spielberg. The legendary characters he has portrayed include Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Rich in A Man for All Seasons - a film which won seven BAFTA Awards and six Academy Awards - and Max in Midnight Express, for which he won the BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for Best Supporting Actor.

Hurt also won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in 1976 for The Naked Civil Servant, which was followed by a British Academy Film Award for Best Actor for his outstanding performance in The Elephant Man in 1981. Throughout an impressive career he has received a further four BAFTA nominations (one for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Alien) and two Academy Award nominations. His most recent film roles have seen him starring as Ollivander in the Harry Potter series and Control in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - both films are BAFTA-nominated this year.

Tim Corrie, Chairman of BAFTA, said: "John Hurt is an actor it is both exciting and fascinating to watch. He has extraordinary screen presence and brings utter conviction to every role he undertakes. He is one of a kind, an iconic figure, and BAFTA is delighted to take this opportunity to honor his outstanding contribution to cinema."

John Hurt added: "I know that film means a great deal to me but I had no idea that I meant so much to film. I feel very honored."

The Orange British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday February 12, hosted by Stephen Fry and broadcast on BBC One. They will be preceded by a special BAFTA 'red carpet' program hosted by Edith Bowman on BBC Three.