Baftas 2015: Mike Leigh awarded fellowship despite Mr Turner nominations snubs

The British filmmaker will accept the award at the ceremony on Sunday

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The Independent Culture

Bafta is sending a dove of peace to director Mike Leigh after his acclaimed biopic Mr Turner failed to be nominated in any major categories.

Instead of a Best Director gong, the British filmmaker will be presented with a prestigious Bafta fellowship at London’s Royal Opera House ceremony this coming Sunday 8 February.

Bafta nominations in full

The 71-year-old has said he is “moved, delighted and surprised” to be awarded the Academy’s highest accolade, after previously receiving a Bafta for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in 1996.

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry described Leigh as a “true innovator and exceptional filmmaker”.


Despite winning rave reviews from film critics, his film about English painter JMW Turner was overlooked in the Best Film and Best British Film shortlists.

Lead actor Timothy Spall missed out on a Best Actor nod despite winning the prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

“I was disappointed,” he told the Evening Standard. “I think a lot of people were expecting me to be nominated and then all of a sudden you find yourself getting swept up thinking that might happen and then it doesn’t and then you just let it go.”

Timothy Spall as JMW Turner in Mike Leigh's Mr Turner

Mr Turner is nominated in the cinematography, costume design, make-up and hair and production design categories, however, and is up for four Oscars.

A celebratory luncheon for Leigh will be held at the Savoy Hotel on Saturday before the main event airs on BBC1 at 9pm the next night.

Leigh, who has been nominated for five Oscars throughout his career, joins the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Martin Scorsese and Helen Mirren as a recipient of the Bafta fellowship.