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Dench will pick up the fest’s top honor Sept. 25, just before the screening of Trevor Nunn’s Red Joan, in which the actress plays a woman whose tranquil life is suddenly disrupted when she is arrested by MI5 and accused of providing intelligence to Communist Russia.
This will be Dench’s first visit to San Sebastian. The seven-time Academy Award nominee received the best supporting actress statuette 20 years ago for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love.
Since her cinema debut in 1964, Dench has starred in numerous critically acclaimed films working with some of the top directors in the business, including Stephen Frears, James Ivory, Kenneth Branagh, Franco Zeffirelli, Sally Potter, Clint Eastwood and Sam Mendes.
The actress has garnered dozens of accolades for roles as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown (1997); the eccentric Armande Voizin in Chocolat (2000); the novelist Iris Murdoch in Iris (2001); a theater impresario in Mrs Henderson Presents (2005); a conflicted teacher in Notes on a Scandal (2006); a mother searching for her stolen son in Philomena (2013); once again as Queen Victoria in Victoria & Abdul (2017); and as M, head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6 — a role she has played in seven James Bond films.
Next year, Dench will star in Kenneth Branagh’s latest film, Artemis Fowl, as well as Andy Goddard’s Six Minutes to Midnight.
Earlier this month, the San Sebastian festival announced Danny DeVito will also receive the Donostia Award this year.
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