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Judi Dench to receive IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award
22 Jun 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench will receive the award on Thursday 6th July at a very special ‘In Conversation Event’ at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Deirdre O’Kane will host the event.

The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA), which celebrates 20 years this year, is delighted to announce that legendary Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench will be presented with the Irish Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the world of film and television.

From Shakespearean stage roles to iconic film performances, Dame Judi Dench is one of the world’s most versatile and respected actors, with an illustrious career that spans over six decades. Beloved by her peers and public alike, her performances have earned her awards and accolades across the globe. She is an Oscar winner with a further seven Oscar Nominations, ten BAFTA awards, two SAG Awards and two Golden Globes to her name for her screen performances. She has also won a Tony Award and seven Olivier Awards for her theatrical work.
This special Irish Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recognises Dame Judi's body of work and her remarkable achievements. Known for her extraordinary ability to command the screen in both leading and supporting roles, she has for decades been one of the most in-demand actors working and brings enormous prestige to any project she is involved in.
Dame Judi was born in York with both of her parents having grown up in Dublin. Her mother was born in Ireland and her father born in the UK. Her parents met while studying at Trinity College. She has remained connected to her Irish heritage both personally and professionally over the many years, and brought enormous depth and empathy to her performance in Irish films Philomena and Belfast. She has collaborated with many Irish screen talent over the years including Ciaran Hinds, Kenneth Branagh, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Charlie Murphy, Jessie Buckley, Chris O'Dowd, Daniel Day Lewis and Michael Fassbender.
Dame Judi Dench expressed how honoured she feels to be acknowledged here in Ireland for her body of work, saying "It's especially wonderful for me to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish Film and Television Academy, as my family are from Ireland and it gives me a wonderful excuse to return to Dublin…"
“It’s such an honour to pay tribute to Judi Dench and to celebrate her extraordinary talent, work and career,” said Áine Moriarty, Chief Executive of IFTA. “Judi is a master of her craft; the breadth and variety of her work on stage and screen has solidified her as one of the most respected and iconic actors of her generation. We look forward to hosting this special event with Judi and presenting her with the Irish Academy Lifetime Achievement Award here in Dublin, the city where her parents grew up”.
The event will be a celebration of her achievements and a moment to recognize her indelible connections with Ireland and the Irish screen industry.
About Judi Dench
Dame Judi is best known for her Oscar-winning role in Shakespeare in Love, Oscar-nominated leading roles in Notes On A Scandal, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Iris, Mrs. Brown and Philomena, and her iconic and commanding role as the boss in the James Bond series, playing opposite both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig across eight blockbuster Bond films.
In Stephen Frears’ 2013 film Philomena, Dame Judi took on the role of real-life Irish woman Philomena Lee, who gave birth out of wedlock in 1950s Ireland and was assigned to work in a convent laundry before her baby was taken from her and put up for adoption. Frears’ affecting film chronicles Philomena’s trip to America with journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) to search for the child she has never met. Philomena Lee herself praised Dame Judi’s depiction of her, and was invited to attend that year’s Oscars with the filmmakers.
Most recently, Judi was Oscar nominated once again for her part in her frequent collaborator Kenneth Branagh’s Irish passion project Belfast, in which she and Ciaran Hinds were cast as the grandparents of the young protagonist (Jude Hill), and starring alongside Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan, in a story based on Branagh’s childhood during the Troubles in Ireland. She was commended for the humorous warmth and compassion she brought to this integral role in a film about holding onto love and hope during difficult times of conflict.
Her stellar filmography has also included The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Victoria & Abdul, J. Edgar, My Week With Marilyn, Pride & Prejudice, Ladies in Lavender, A Room with a View and Chocolat, and she has worked in television on Cranford, As Time Goes By, A Fine Romance and The Hollow Crown. On stage, she has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and she had a long run as Sally Bowles in Cabaret
The IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Dame Judi during a gala event reception and discussion, attended by Academy Members, industry peers and special invited guests. A small number of tickets will be made available to the public on the IFTA website www.ifta.ie
Previous recipients of the IFTA Lifetime Achievement Awards include, for example, Irish icons such as Maureen O’Hara, Gabriel Byrne, Jim Sheridan, Liam Neeson, Fionnula Flanagan and Joan Bergin, and international recipients of IFTA’s special John Ford Award have included Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood.
For further information, please contact press@ifta.ie
The Irish Film & Television Academy.
Tel :+353 1 9053599
This event is supported by Screen Ireland (the state development agency for the Irish film, television and animation industry) and is sponsored by Canon.
About the Irish Film & Television Academy
The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) is a not-for-profit organisation with a Membership of 1,300 industry professionals across 14 chapters of discipline (directors, writers, actors, producers, cinematographers, editors etc.). The Academy runs a 12-month Program of Excellence (learning events & activities including Masterclasses, Discussions, Women In Focus events, Dynamic/Diverse events, Screenings, Q&As, Talent Hub Sessions etc., to nurture and encourage young filmmakers and craftspeople. The Academy also delivers the John Ford Symposium and rewards Excellence in Achievement through the annual Irish Academy Awards Ceremonies (IFTA Awards).  

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