The Queen’s birthday honours list has been announced amid intense speculation (and the odd tabloid leak), and some of our favorite people have been given the royal seal of approval.
Benedict Cumberbatch is awarded a C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire, one order of honor below a knighthood) for services to drama. These include Sherlock, obviously, but also The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, Star Trek Into Darkness, Hawking and The Penguins of Madagascar. The man’s got range.
He’s joined by fellow actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, also a C.B.E., and Eddie Redmayne, who adds an O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) to the Oscar he won in February. And Sherlock co-creator and Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat also bags an O.B.E. “I was astonished at the idea I would get something like this,” the writer said. “I think the lovely thing about it is that a writer gets nominated or awarded at all in this arena. I think it gives hope and comfort to the shy kid at the back of the class with his head full of stories and no one to talk to!”
The highest-profile knighthoods in the entertainment field go to Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and the Birmingham-born comedian and co-founder of Comic Relief Lenny Henry. He told the BBC’s Chris Evans: “It is a wonderful thing and my family are really, really chuffed. My friends have not stopped ringing up and saying congratulations. It is an extraordinary thing and I’m very chuffed.”
There’s also a surprise honorary knighthood for non-Brit Kevin Spacey, who has spent the last ten years living in London as artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre. “I feel like an adopted son,” said Spacey, who joins a very select list of non-U.K. citizens to receive the honor. Spacey is unable to use the title “Sir” in front of his name, but can now be known as “K.B.E.” or Knight Commander.
Aside from the various sporting and entertainment luminaries to be given awards for services to their respective fields, around 70% of the 1,163 honors are for ordinary non-celebrities who are recognized for outstanding work or campaigning in their communities. The Birthday Honours list is one of two sets of awards given out each year, the other taking place at the New Year.
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