Sir Kenneth Branagh has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award by Britain’s most well-established critics organisation. The London Film Critics’ Circle has announced that the impresario will be given the Dilys Powell Award for excellence in film in the new year.

54 year old Branagh, who was knighted in 2012 for his contributions to the stage and screen, will receive the award at the Circle’s annual ceremony in London on January 17th, 2016, when the recipients of other prizes for achievements in movie-making are revealed.

Kenneth BranaghSir Kenneth Branagh is to be honoured with the Dilys Powell Award for excellence in film

The award is in acknowledgement of Branagh’s 34 year career, both as an actor and director. He made his acting debut with a small part in 1981’s Chariots of Fire, an Oscar-winning picture, going on to gain a fearsome reputation as an interpreter of Shakespearean characters. However, he has occasionally cropped up in massive blockbusters such as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Wild Wild West.

More: Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Cinderella’ premieres at Berlinale Film Festival, but what did the critics really think of the fairytale re-boot?

As a director, he cut his teeth on the same Shakespeare productions that had helped him forge a career as an actor, but recently he has helmed much bigger Hollywood projects such as Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Cinderella, the latter of which came earlier in 2015 and featured Lily James in a breakout role.

In a statement upon hearing the news, Branagh said: “As a young filmmaker, I had the privilege of meeting Dilys Powell,” Branagh said in a statement, referring to the late Sunday Times critic. “She was passionate, rigorous, humane. Her criticism was illuminating, thoughtful and bracing. This recognition in her name is a great honour to me personally and very meaningful. My sincere thanks to the Critics’ Circle.”

As a recipient, Branagh will be in esteemed company, as previous winners of the Dilys Powell Award include Judi Dench, Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Michael Caine, Mike Leigh and Miranda Richardson.

More: Kenneth Branagh to star in four plays within one theatre season