It is a great honor for me to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's International Film & Television Showcase, it only saddens me that my husband, Tony Blanco, cannot be with me to share this moment, as he would be as honored and proud as I am.
I congratulate you on the beautiful initiative to support and celebrate the dedication, passion and integrity of women in film everywhere, and I thank TheWIFTS Board for considering me worthy of this precious award. I am very sorry to be unable to receive it in person. Thank you!
THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION SHOWCASE
JULY 2nd 2016
Passion & Integrity Commerce & Creativity Equality Not Hierarchy
- United Kingdom
The Barbara Tipple Best Actress Award
Celia Imrie Actress - Author
Celia Imrie is the recipient of TheWIFTS 2016 Barbara Tipple Best Actress Award. A boundlessly talented actress, who is always in demand, her versatility and diverse character roles across film televisions and the stage are simply impressive. Celia's ability to portray a lady who is a coquette at heart, as in the two successful feature films The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, is unique. Celia Imrie embarked on her journey as an author with Not Quite Nice, and a sequel Nice Work (If You Can Get It). She is renowned to her legions of worldwide fans for her sense of humor, witticism, ultra-independent approach and an appetite to enjoy life.
Celia is an Olivier award winning and Screen Actors Guild Nominated actress. In 2016, she starred In The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 'shining' (The Daily Telegraph, March 2015) in her role as the frisky, singleton grandmother Madge Hardcastle. The ensemble cast included Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Richard Gere, and Tamsin Grieg.
On its opening weekend the film topped the UK, New Zealand and Australian box office and opened in the US in the third spot on a limited screen run. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was released in Spring 2012 to record-breaking business in the UK and US, earning more than $135 million worldwide, along with a host of critical acclaim and accolades including Best Picture nominations from The Hollywood Foreign Press, BAFTA, and The Screen Actors Guild (Ensemble Award).
Last year, Celia also made her debut as a novelist with Not Quite Nice, a story of eccentric expatriates who find new friends, new beginnings and new dramas on the French Riviera. Not Quite Nice was Bloomsbury Press' top selling title, a Sunday Times Best-seller, reached number 5 on the iBooks paid for chart, and was number 6 on the Amazon bestseller list.
On the 1st March 2016, Bloomsbury published her witty and enchanting sequel novel, Nice Work (If You Can Get It), which explores the lives of an enterprising band of retirees who show it is never too late to start afresh, as they open a restaurant in the French Riviera.
This current year, Celia will be seen reprising her role as Una Alconbury in Bridget Jones's Baby, as well as playing 'Claudia Bing' in the highly anticipated Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Celia has finished filming a leading role in Year By The Sea, adapted from Joan Anderson's best-selling memoirs. The story follows the journey of Joan (Karen Allen), who is hoping to reclaim who she was before marriage and children. Once an empty nester, she retreats to Cape Cod where she embarks upon a quest to set herself free. Celia plays Joan Erikson, a free spirited matriarch and hippie with thrift-shop eccentricity, exuding resilience and inner strength.
Celia has also completed filming for Gore Verbinski's supernatural horror film, A Cure For Wellness, alongside Dane DeHaan and Mia Goth. This feature tells the story of an employee (DeHaan) who is sent to rescue his boss from a European "wellness spa." He soon realises he's trapped, and discovers that the facility has a more sinister purpose than just serving the healthy needs of it patients. The film will be released in 2017.
She is also due to star in Hush, a horror film based on the novella by E.M. Blomqvist. Directed by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson, and co-starring Ben Lloyd-Hughes, the film concerns a group of college students who deceive the elderly members of their community through a ghost-busting business, only to find a collection of genuine ghosts haunting an old orphanage. Celia will be playing Mrs. Green, a decrepit headmistress still occupying the haunted orphanage, whose bloody past and disturbed mind results in a series of gruesome murders.
Celia's career started in the early 1970s with her first notable role of Marianne Bellshade in the BBC television series Bergerac. Following on from this, Celia played her famous role of Miss Babs in the parodic soap opera Acorn Antiques, also for the BBC. In 1993, she played Vera in Barbara Vine's A Dark Adapted Eye, with Sophie Ward and Helena Bonham Carter for BBC 2. She is also well known for her much-loved role in ITV's Kingdom, where she starred in all three seasons, opposite Stephen Fry and last year she starred as the villainess Miss Kizlet in the seventh series of the hugely popular BBC series Doctor Who.
She also took on the role of Rowan Holdaway in the ITV comedy series Love and Marriage; and, in 2012 played Grace Rushton in the ITV mini-series Titanic, written by Julian Fellowes. Celia also featured in the first season of The Darling Buds Of May alongside David Jason and Catherine Zeta-Jones and BAFTA nominated TV series The Riff Raff Element. From 1998 to 2000, she starred as Phillipa Moorcroft in the BBC series Dinnerladies and in 2000, also took the lead role of Lady Gertrude in the mini-series Gormenghast.
Celia was in the first episode of ITV's comedy drama Doc Martin, the BBC's multi-award winning Absolutely Fabulous and crime drama Marple. Starting in 2007, Celia also featured in the TV series After You've Gone as Diana Neal, opposite Nicholas Lyndhurst.
In 2014, she guest starred in the second episode of the BBC's Blandings, playing Jennifer Saunder's sister. In the same year Celia appeared as Lady Daphne Goodwin in the BBC drama Our Zoo, based on the inspiring real story of the eccentric Mottershead family who established Chester Zoo in the 1930s.
In 2011, Celia was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress in the acclaimed Tony and Olivier Award winning comedy Noises Off at The Old Vic Theatre. She also starred in Hayfever at The Rose Theatre and in Habeus Corpus at The Donmar Warehouse, directed by Sam Mendes.
Celia won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2005, for Acorn Antiques: The Musical, directed by Trevor Nunn. She was also awarded The Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Sea at The National in 1991, with her role opposite Dame Judi Dench, directed by Sam Mendes.
Celia Imrie began her career as a chorus girl in pantomime and then went on to perform in Henry V, Macbeth, As You Like It and The Merchant Of Venice.
At The National Theatre she performed in Yerma (1987) and The School For Scandal (1998).
Stewart Permutt's one-woman play Unsuspecting Susan 2003 premiered at The King's Head Theatre and in 2005 she then took the play on to critical acclaim in New York at 59 East 59th Street Theatre.
In 2014, Celia was seen on stage in her acclaimed Cabaret Laughing Matters at the St James Studio, following its success at The Crazy Coqs. In the same year she also performed as a guest artist in Forgotten Voices at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a play by Malcolm McKay based on the best-selling book Forgotten Voices of the Great War by Max Arthur.
Celia Imrie's extensive feature film filmography includes: In 2001, Celia played Una Alconbury in Bridget Jones's Diary, the Oscar nominated film starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. She then went on to star in Calendar Girls in 2003, opposite Julie Walters and Dame Helen Mirren, before returning for the Bridget Jones sequel The Edge Of Reason in 2004. Celia also featured in Wimbledon and as Mrs Quickly opposite Colin Firth in Nanny McPhee, both from Universal Pictures, as well as playing Matron in St Trinians and in the sequel, St Trinians 2: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold. Celia's further film credits include Homily Clock, opposite Jim Broadbent in the award winning family film The Borrowers as well as featuring in the blockbuster Star Wars - The Phantom Menace. She was cast as Mrs Bennett in A Christmas Carol before going on to feature in the Oscar nominated Frankenstein with a cast including Robert De Niro, Helena Bonham Carter and John Cleese.
In 2013, Celia co-starred in the comedy film Love Punch, from Entertainment One, opposite Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson and Timothy Spall and also appeared in Lionsgate's comedy What We Did On Our Holiday (2014) with Rosamund Pike and David Tennant. In the same year she also played the headmistress in Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey, the third film in the hugely popular film series. Celia appeared in Tom Butterworth's family film Molly Moon: The Incredible Hypnotist (2015).