Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, are pleased to announce Academy Award-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch as the recipient of this year’s TIFF Tribute Actor Award. The 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards will take place during the 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

In addition to being an Academy Award nominee, Cumberbatch won an Emmy Award for playing the role of Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock and a BAFTA for his role in Patrick Melrose. He will next be seen in Netflix’s The Power of the Dog, directed by Jane Campion, and Amazon Studios’ The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, directed by Will Sharpe — both of which will have their Canadian premieres at TIFF. 

“Benedict has portrayed some of the most memorable characters screened at TIFF, whether it was Alan Turing in The Imitation Game or Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate; he also has an uncanny ability to take on interesting, complex roles and make them his own in films such as 12 Years a Slave and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy — all of which screened at the Festival,” said, Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “He has had a lasting relationship with TIFF, including two TIFF People’s Choice Award-winning films, and his remarkable range and onscreen presence is sure to captivate audiences at this year’s Festival with his upcoming films The Power of the Dog and The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.”

Previous recipients of the TIFF Tribute Actor Award include Meryl Streep, Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet, and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

The TIFF Tribute Awards honour the film industry’s outstanding contributors and their achievements, recognizing leading industry members, acting talent, directorial expertise, new talent, and a below-the-line artist and creator. The Awards also serve as TIFF’s largest annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film. This year’s event will raise funds for TIFF’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative and champion a safe, community-focused and inspiring return to cinemas. In 2020 the TIFF Tribute Awards celebrated the remarkable talents and contributions of Mira Nair, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Chloé Zhao, Terence Blanchard, and Tracey Deer, some of whom went on to win awards on the international stage — such as Zhao (Nomadland), Deer (Beans), and Hopkins (The Father). Meryl Streep, Taika Waititi, Mati Diop, Joaquin Phoenix, and Roger Deakins were celebrated during the Awards’ inaugural event in 2019. 


Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch has established himself as one of the most versatile actors of his generation with an array of emotionally searing and complex roles defining his body of work. Upcoming, he will be seen in Jane Campion’s The Power of The Dog for Netflix and Will Sharpe’s The Electrical Life of Louis Wain for Amazon Studios. Additional upcoming films include Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home for Columbia Pictures and Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness for Marvel. Most notably, he starred in The Imitation Game for which he received an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award nomination. Additional notable film credits include Doctor Strange, The Mauritanian and The Courier, both of which he also produced, 1917, 12 Years A Slave, War Horse, Atonement, The Hobbit, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Black Mass, August: Osage County, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Other Boleyn Girl. Notable television credits include Sherlock for which he won the Emmy Award for Leading Actor in a Drama Series, received three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination, three BAFTA TV Award nominations, two SAG Award nominations and three Critics Choice nominations, Patrick Melrose for which he received a BAFTA TV Award, Golden Globe nomination and Emmy Award nomination, The Hollow Crown, for which he received a BAFTA TV Award nomination, Hawking, for which he earned a BAFTA TV nomination, Small Island, for which he earned a BAFTA TV nomination, Parade’s End, for which he received an Emmy nomination, and Brexit: The Uncivil War.  Cumberbatch’s stage credits include Frankenstein, for which he received the Laurence Olivier Award and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award, Hedda Gabler, for which he received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination and won the Ian Charleson Award, and Hamlet, for which he earned his third Laurence Olivier Award nomination.

The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9–18, 2021.