Visit Newport Beach

February 13, 2023


  • Acclaimed actor and national treasure Bill Nighy to receive ‘Icon’ Award at Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours event.
  • Bill Nighy is a multi-award-winning actor of both the stage and screen, with an expansive career spanning fifty years. Bill Nighy is a BAFTA Award winner, a Golden Globe Award winner and has received nominations for an Academy Award, Olivier Award, and a Tony Award.
  • Taking place in London on Thursday February 16th, the Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours is being hosted by Edith Bowman and will include awards to celebrated British and Irish talent including Naomi Ackie, Paul Mescal, Taron Egerton, Letitia Wright, Amiee Lou Wood, and Micheal Ward.
  • The UK ICON award is announced as the Newport Beach Film Festival is open for UK Film submissions for its annual event in October 2023

LONDON (February 13, 2023) — The Newport Beach Film Festival has today announced that Bill Nighy will be the recipient of the prestigious ICON Award, the highest accolade issued at the exclusive UK Honours event held on February 16th, 2023.

With a career spanning 50 years, Nighy’s ICON award recognises his vast and accomplished portfolio of high-calibre work across film and television and the Festival is honouring his status as an ‘Icon’ of cinema in a year he is both Academy and BAFTA nominated for his performance in Living. Other acclaimed projects include Love Actually for which Bill received a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor, The BIFA winning Pride, his SAG nominated performance in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the Tony nominated Skylight.

President & CEO of Newport Beach & Company, Gary Sherwin said, “We’re thrilled to be celebrating Bill Nighy as an ICON at this year’s UK Honours. His contribution to the film, television, and theatre industry across nearly 50 years makes him undoubtedly one of the finest actors of our generation.”

The Newport Beach Film Festival, one of the largest luxury lifestyle film festivals in the United States, has included a dedicated UK showcase during its program for the past 24 years. In 2015, the Film Festival and Visit Newport Beach partnered to elevate the connection to the UK industry by honouring talent via the Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours. Hosted by Edith Bowman, and in partnership with Variety, the UK Honours will take place in the heart of London’s film entertainment district and marks the start of the BAFTA Film award celebrations across the city.

The announcement of the 2023 ICON recipient comes as Newport Beach Film Festival also announces it’s now open for UK Film submissions for its annual event in 2023. With its many guild and academy voters, the Festival is has become a key stop for awards season campaigns, with such renowned titles as Women Talking, Glass Onion, Empire of Light, Banshees of Inisherin, The Quite Girl and All Quiet on the Western Front all screening as part of the festival in 2022.

Alongside Bill Nighy (Living), his year’s cohort of UK Honourees include an impressive 18 BAFTA nominations between them. Recipients of the ‘Breakout’ awards are Micheal Ward, (Empire of Light), Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials), Lydia West (Inside Man), Nicola Coughlan (Bridgerton), and Aimee Lou-Wood (Living). ‘Artists of Distinction’ recognised this year are Letitia Wright (Black Panther; Wakanda Forever), Gemma Chan (Don’t Worry Darling), Taron Egerton (Blackbird), Naomi Ackie (Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody), Paul Mescal (Aftersun) and Toby Jones (Empire of Light, The Wonder).

This year’s UK honourees will be joining a distinguished group of talent, previous Newport Beach Film Festival UK honourees include Sir Ian Holm, Richard E Grant, Sir Patrick Stewart, Lord Julian Fellowes, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Ncuti Gatwa, Erin Doherty, Asa Butterfield, Lesley Manville, Charles Dance, Alice Eve, Celia Imrie, Laura Carmichael, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Jodie Turner-Smith, Zawe Ashton, Sheila Atim and Joanne Froggatt.

Additionally, at the event, Variety will be presenting their ‘10 Brits to Watch’ an honour that recognises outstanding British talent across entertainment. This year’s recipients include Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love), Yasmin Finney (Heartstopper), Jonah Hauer-King (The Little Mermaid). 

About Newport Beach Film Festival

Recognised as one of the largest luxury lifestyle film festivals in the United States, the Newport Beach Film Festival brings an international curated collection of films and vibrant cultural gatherings to the beautiful Southern California coast. Committed to championing the work of original storytellers from around the globe, the Festival celebrates contemporary screen culture, cinematic excellence and engages the community in compelling conversations with filmmakers and artists. The 24th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival runs October 12-19, 2023 and will spotlight over 300 films from around the world.

Full List of Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours Honourees (listed in alphabetical order):


  • Bill Nighy


  • Gemma Chan
  • Letitia Wright
  • Naomi Ackie
  • Paul Mescal
  • Taron Egerton
  • Toby Jones


  • Aimee Lou-Wood
  • Dafne Keen
  • Lydia West
  • Micheal Ward
  • Nicola Coughlan


  • Living
  • Stephen Woolley, Elizabeth Karlsen (producers), Kazuo Ishiguro (writer)

Variety’s 10 Brits To Watch recipients:

  1. Bella Ramsey
  2. Benjamin Caron
  3. Dolly Alderton
  4. Frankie Corio
  5. India Amarteifio
  6. Jenn Nkiru
  7. Jonah Hauer-King
  8. Leo Woodall
  9. Ripley Parker
  10. Yasmin Finney
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