Sam Neill and Bryan Brown.

Bryan Brown will receive this year’s Longford Lyell Award, the highest honour bestowed by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA).

Director Ian Dunlop was the first recipient of the honour named after film pioneers Raymond Longford and Lottie Lyell at the 1968 AFI Awards.

The roll call of honorees includes Peter Weir, Geoffrey Rush, Fred Schepisi, Jan Chapman, David Stratton, Don McAlpine, Al Clark, Jacki Weaver, Andrew Knight, Cate Blanchett and, last year, Phillip Noyce.

“In the 38 years since Bryan received his first AFI Award we have seen him firmly established as one of Australia’s most respected actors. As one of our earliest performance winners it is fitting that we honour Bryan this year as AFI | AACTA celebrates its 60th anniversary,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella.

“We are full of admiration for Bryan’s commitment to his craft, his role as a mentor to so many performers over the years and as an ambassador for the Australian screen industry.”

The award will be presented at the 2018 AACTA Awards on December 5 at The Star Event Centre in Sydney, telecast at 8.30pm on the Seven Network.

Brown said: “It’s an honour – thank you to the Academy. I’m an Australian telling Australian stories and I love it.”

He made his screen debut in 1975 in Terry Ohlsson’s Scobie Malone, uttering just two lines, followed by supporting roles in Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Bruce Beresford’s Money Movers and Noyce’s Newsfront. He graduated to lead roles in Donald Crombie’s Cathy’s Child and Albie Thoms’ Palm Beach.

In 1980 he won his first AFI award for best supporting actor in Beresford’s Breaker Morant and his second in 1999 for his supporting role in Gregor Jordan’s Two Hands.

Among his extensive screen credits are A Town Like Alice, Stir, Cocktail, The Shiralee, The Thorn Birds, Rebel, Dirty Deeds and The Umbrella Woman.

More recently he starred in Old School, Australia Day, Kill Me Three Times and Red Dog: True Blue.

This year he starred in Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, Playmaker Media’s supernatural romance-thriller Bloom, which premieres on Stan on New Year’s Day, and Rachel Ward’s upcoming feature Palm Beach alongside Sam Neill, Greta Scacchi and Richard E. Grant.

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