The honor—the Academy Fellowship awarded at the EE BAFTA ceremony—is the highest accolade handed out by the British Academy for “outstanding and exceptional contribution to film”. Recipients who have previously received the honor include Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Judi Dench, Martin Scorsese, and Vanessa Redgrave.
"When you make your first film, you're sure it will be your last," Parker said. "And then you squeeze your eyes together and suddenly, 40 years later, you're at BAFTA getting an award like this. I'm of course enormously flattered and honored."
BAFTA chairman John Willis added: "Sir Alan Parker is a hugely distinctive filmmaker, and a man of uncompromising vision and personality. He has made an immense contribution to the British film industry, receiving a wide range of critical and public acclaim for his writing, producing and directing across almost 40 years of filmmaking.”
He goes on to highlight the BAFTA awards that his prior film shave already won: “It's almost impossible to highlight any one moment of his career, but the incredible 19 BAFTAs his films have won indicate the esteem in which he is held by his peers, as well as the outstanding nature of his work.”
Parker began his career filming television ads. His first feature film was “Bugsy Malone”, while his first major hit was the Oliver Stone-written “Midnight Express”. He went on to direct the musicals “Fame” and “Pink Floyd The Wall”, the 1960s thriller/drama “Mississippi Burning”, and “Angela’s Ashes”, the Frank McCourt film adaptation; he has also received 2 Oscar nominations, for directing “Midnight Express” and “Mississippi Burning”.
The BAFTA awards, hosted by Stephen Fry, will air on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, at London’s Royal Opera House.
For more information, check out the article by Simon Reynolds for Digital Spy.