Veteran actor John Hurt will receive a career award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts next month when the annual BAFTA movie awards are announced.

Hurt, 72, is best known for his portrayal of Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four and John Merrick in The Elephant Man, and already has several BAFTAs to his name.

I know that film means a great deal to me but I had no idea that I meant so much to film, Hurt said in a statement ahead of the February 12 event in London where he will receive an Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award.

I feel very honoured.

Hurt has worked with some of the most important figures in cinema including Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton and has recently appeared in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the Harry Potter franchise.

Going into Britain's top film awards, French silent picture The Artist leads the nominations with 12, one ahead of Cold War spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)