Lifetime Achievement Award

Judi Dench

presented by Minister Catherine Martin TD, June 2023

Legendary Oscar-winning actress, Judi Dench, was honoured in Dublin on July 6th by IFTA and presented with the prestigious IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award at a special Academy event held at the Shelbourne Hotel.

The event, hosted by Academy CEO Áine Moriarty, took the form of an intimate ‘In Conversation’ with Deirdre O’Kane in front of a captivated audience of Academy Members and invited guests. Judi was then presented with her IFTA Lifetime Award by Minister Catherine Martin TD.

Judi Dench receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award

"Judi is the greatest. She embodies every part effortlessly, with a lightness of touch. She is captivating…"

Olivia Colman

"You're a miracle. You're kind, you're generous… you’re wicked."

Cate Blanchett


"It’s such an honour to pay tribute to Judi Dench and to celebrate her extraordinary talent, work and career. Judi is a master of her craft; the breadth and variety of her work on stage and screen has solidified her as one of the most respected and iconic actors of her generation. We look forward to hosting this special event with Judi and presenting her with the Irish Academy Lifetime Achievement Award here in Dublin, the city where her parents grew up. "

Áine Moriarty, Chief Executive of IFTA

The engaging conversation between Dame Judi and Deirdre included funny and insightful anecdotes from her illustrious career, and stories from behind the scenes across her various achievements and iconic collaborations on stage and screen over several decades. The audience was also invited to pose questions to the iconic actress.

Some high profile co-stars of Judi from throughout the years, also wanted to be part of the celebrations and sent wonderful messages that were played out in the room, with Cate Blanchett saying “You're a miracle. You're kind, you're generous… you’re wicked.” Olivia Colman reflected on their collaboration in Murder on the Orient Express and said “Judi is the greatest. She embodies every part effortlessly, with a lightness of touch. She is captivating…”.

Dame Judi’s Belfast co-star Ciaran Hinds congratulated Judi and spoke on behalf of the Irish Academy saying: “We are thrilled not only that you’ve accepted it, but we feel very honoured to be able to offer it to you.” He went on to emotionally recall his own mother seeing Judi perform on stage for the first time in London, and telling him about this wonderful actress: “‘She’s not very big, but she packs one hell of a punch.’ And when Kenneth Branagh asked me to play opposite you, he probably had no idea how nervous, excited, embarrassed, thrilled I was to get to work with you. It was one of the great moments of my life.”

Caitríona Balfe, who also starred in Belfast alongside Judi, added “Working with you has been one of the highlights of my career. I got to witness firsthand your kindness, your light, your incredible talent and, of course, your wicked sense of humour. From stage to television and film, you have inspired us, you have moved us and you are a true, true legend.”