Britannia Awards to Honor Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Mike Leigh

In addition to the three 2014 Oscar hopefuls, BAFTA-LA's annual ceremony, set for Oct. 30 this year, will also fete Dame Judi Dench and Emma Watson
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The Judge's lead actor Robert Downey, Jr., Foxcatcher's supporting actor Mark Ruffalo, Mr. Turner's writer-director Mike Leigh and two beloved British actresses of different generations, Dame Judi Dench and Emma Watson, will be this year's honorees at BAFTA Los Angeles' 23rd annual Britannia Awards on Oct. 30 at the Beverly Hilton, the organization announced Thursday.

The gala dinner and ceremony, which raises funds for BAFTA-LA's education, preservation and philanthropic efforts, is an early and high-profile stop on the annual awards circuit that fetes Brits and non-Brits alike "who have dedicated their careers to advancing the art forms of the moving image in the US, UK and beyond."

Comedian Rob Brydon will return as host for the second consecutive year. (The ceremony will air on BBC America on  Nov 2 at 9pm EST.) And BAFTA's Bumble Ward and Deborah Kolar will serve as the event's co-chairs.

Downey will receive the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film, which is presented to "a unique individual, upon whose work is stamped the indelible mark of authorship and commitment, and who has lifted the craft to new heights." Prior recipients include Warren Beatty, Jeff Bridges, Tom Cruise, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, George Lucas, Sean Penn, Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington and, last year, George Clooney.

Ruffalo — for his work with Water Defense, a non-profit that he co-founded to use technology and public engagement to keep waterways and drinking water clean — will receive this year's Britannia Humanitarian Award, which is presented to "a colleague who has used their position in the entertainment industry to create positive social change and actively shine a light on important humanitarian issues." Prior recipients include Richard Curtis, Don Cheadle, Colin Firth and, last year, Idris Elba.

Leigh will receive the John Schlesigner Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing, which is presented to "deeply respected, distinctive and innovative directors whose contribution as both technicians and artists represents the zenith of the directing profession." Last year's recipient was Kathryn Bigelow.

Dench will receive the Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment, which is presented to "that rare breed of iconic and trailblazing individuals who innovative approach has had a profound, lasting impact on the entertainment industry and whose contributions to the moving image are second to none." Last year's recipient was Sir Ben Kingsley.

And Watson — at just 24, but already a 15-year veteran of the business thanks to her early start in the Harry Potter films — will receive the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year, which is presented to "a talented British artist whose outstanding performances in a year have demonstrated the high quality of their craftsmanship [and] who represents the best of British talent." (It is a curious choice, in light of the fact that Watson's only 2014 credit is Noah, a film that came out in March and wasn't especially well received, unlike many others with which Watson has been involved.) Prior recipients include Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Tilda Swinton, Helena Bonham Carter, Emily Blunt, Michael Sheen, Rachel Weisz and, last year, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg

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