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Celebs line out as BAFTAs hit States

There was a bit of a British invasion at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel as BAFTA Los Angeles hosted its annual Britannia Awards, honoring film and television talent from both sides of the pond, including director Mike Leigh and actors Dame Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Robert Downey Jr.

Judi Dench flew the flag for Ireland too following the success of her film Philomena. But most of the attendees were Brits - no surprise, given the party was thrown by the LA branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Downey received the Stanley Kubrick Award for Excellence in Film, named after the legendary director of such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey.

"(The award) means a heck of a lot to me," said Downey. "I love British filmmakers, and they have such a great talent pool."

Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench was honored with Albert R ("Cubby") Broccoli Award for Worldwide Contribution in Entertainment, named after one of the original producers of the James Bond films.

"I'm rather overwhelmed by," said Dench. "I've had 17 years of doing Bond, which has been just wonderful. So, I'm very, very proud that I shall have something that is named after Cubby."

Dench and fellow honoree Emma Watson posed together for photographers on the arrivals line.


Watson, named Britannia British Artist of the Year, said Dench is "just all soul and all grace and strength and beauty, and she really, for me, she's an iconic British actor. She's what you aspire to be."

The 79-year-old Dench is currently on a box-office roll, with her 2012 releases The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Skyfall and her Oscar-nominated 2013 Philomena all boasting worldwide grosses of more than $100m (€80m) each. Dench's next film is the sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, hitting cinemas in February.

"People like to say, 'When are you retiring?' Or 'When are you going to slow down?'," said Dench. "That's all very rude in my family. We don't say any of that. I think if I stop, it'll be like a car: I shall run out of petrol and fall over. So, I plan not to do that, if possible."