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Cate Blanchett joins BFI Fellowship at London Film Festival Awards

Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett joined the BFI Fellowship as she picked up the top accolade from actor Sir Ian McKellen.

The Australian actress, who has won two Academy Awards for her performances in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, was presented with the Fellowship prize by her former Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit co-star at the BFI London Film Festival Awards in London's Banqueting House.

The honour tops Blanchett's year at the 2015 festival, where two of her films - Carol and Truth - had gala screenings.

She previously said receiving the title is "absolutely marvellous", adding: "I hope they're not going to change their mind. It's great.

"The pedigree and the list of people who come before me is rather daunting but I'm really excited."

Blanchett, 46, joins previous winners of the BFI Fellowship such as Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Al Pacino and the late Christopher Lee, who were all honoured for their outstanding achievement on screen.

Rooney Mara, the actress's co-star in Carol, said she is a worthy winner of the prize: "I can't think of anyone more deserving. She is one of the greatest actresses that we have today."

Blanchett was joined by stars such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristin Scott Thomas, Martin Freeman and Allen Leech at the ceremony, which was hosted by Jarvis Cocker.

Greek film-maker Athina Rachel Tsangari beat established directors Cary Fukunaga, Terence Davies and Lenny Abrahamson as her movie Chevalier - described as "a study of male antagonism" - won the Best Film Award.

Oscar-winning director Pawel Pawlikowski, president of the official competition jury, called Tsangari a "brave and original film-maker".

He said: "With great formal rigour and irresistible wit, Athena Rachel Tsangari has managed to make a film that is both a hilarious comedy and a deeply disturbing statement on the condition of western humanity."

Other winners include American film-maker Robert Eggers, whose debut The Witch won the Sutherland award for "original and imaginative first feature", Australian director Jennifer Peedom, who won the Grierson prize for best documentary with her feature Sherpa, and Indian duo Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel's An Old Dog's Diary, which was given the best short film award.

The BFI London Film Festival, now in its 59th year, comes to a close on Sunday with the gala screening of Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs, where stars including Kate Winslet and Michael Fassbender and the director will grace the red carpet at London's Leicester Square.

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