The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (Aacta) will next month bestow actor Sam Neill with its highest honour, the Longford Lyell Award.
First presented in 1968, the award honours Australian film pioneer Raymond Longford and his partner in filmmaking and life, Lottie Lyell. It recognises a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture.
Neill joins previous recipients such as Peter Weir, Fred Schepisi, Jan Chapman, David Stratton, Don McAlpine, Al Clark, Jacki Weaver, Andrew Knight, Cate Blanchett, Phillip Noyce and most recently, Bryan Brown.
“I am very thrilled by this honour indeed,” said Neill. “And very surprised! Let me check just in case they’ve made a mistake…”
Neill made his feature debut in Roger Donaldson’s Sleeping Dogs in 1979, which led to a breakthrough role in Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career opposite Judy Davis.