Knighthoods for directors Sam Mendes and Steve McQueen

Sam Mendes and Steve McQueenImage copyright
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Mendes (left) and McQueen became CBEs in 2000 and 2011 respectively

Oscar-winning British film-makers Sam Mendes and Steve McQueen have both been knighted in the New Year Honours.

Mendes, who won the Academy Award for best director for American Beauty, has been recognised for services to drama.

The director of two Bond films said he was “amazed, delighted and extremely proud” to receive the honour.

McQueen – recognised for services to art and film – is the first black film-maker to win the best picture Oscar, for 2013’s 12 Years a Slave.

Before moving into movies, both men enjoyed successful careers in other aspects of the arts.

Mendes, 54, built his early reputation on the stage, as artistic director of London’s Donmar Warehouse and for his productions of such musicals as Oliver! and Cabaret.

“I have stood on the shoulders of so many collaborators and colleagues over the last 30 years – actors, writers, designers, producers, technicians – to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude,” he said.

“I would not be receiving this honour without them.”

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McQueen won the Turner Prize in 1999 for his film and video works – fending off competition from the likes of Tracey Emin.

The 50-year-old is currently working on a TV series set within London’s West Indian community.

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Sam Mendes with his best director Oscar trophy

Reading-born Mendes began his career in the theatre, directing productions for the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Donmar Warehouse.

He won a Laurence Olivier award in 1995 for directing The Glass Menagerie, and another the following year for his revival of the musical Company.

American Beauty, his first film, saw him win best director honours at the 2000 Golden Globes and the Oscars that followed.

His other films included Jarhead, Road to Perdition and 2008’s Revolutionary Road, which starred his then-wife Kate Winslet,

His other film credits include 2012’s Skyfall and 2015’s Spectre, the two recent instalments in the James Bond series.

His upcoming war epic, 1917, tells of two young British soldiers racing against time to avert an assault on their comrades.

In 2000 Mendes was made a CBE for services to drama.

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McQueen with the Oscar he received for producing 12 Years a Slave

McQueen’s early work includes Deadpan, a black-and-white 1997 short in which he recreated a stunt from Buster Keaton’s silent film Steamboat Bill, Jr.

He subsequently went to Basra as an official war artist and produced Queen and Country, a 2007 work that marked the deaths of British soldiers in Iraq by presenting their portraits as a sheet of stamps.

Hunger, McQueen’s first feature film, told the story of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

He went on to work again with its star Michael Fassbender on 2011’s Shame and 12 Years a Slave, an intense and graphic adaptation of an 1850s slave memoir.

His most recent feature, 2018’s Widows, relocated Lynda La Plante’s 1980s TV series about female criminals to contemporary Chicago.

Last month McQueen’s exhibition of photographs of more than 75,000 Year 3 London school children was unveiled at Tate Britain.

Media captionMore than 75,000 children from London schools were photographed

The project, inspired by McQueen looking at his own 1977 class photo, was intended to serve as a visual snapshot of people in his home city.

McQueen received a CBE in 2011 for services to the visual arts.

Other entertainment honourees

Joining McQueen and Mendes as a newly-named knight of the realm is the playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton.

The 73-year-old is best known for his 1985 play Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which he helped adapt into the Oscar-winning 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons.

British classical music presenter Humphrey Burton also becomes a knight for his services to classical music, the arts and media.

Damehoods are given to Baroness Floella Benjamin, novelist Rose Tremain and Grease star Olivia Newton-John.

Sir Elton John, meanwhile, is made a Companion of Honour for services to music and charity.

The pop veteran joins fellow musician Sir Paul McCartney in the elite order, which has a maximum 65 members at any one time.

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, EastEnders actor Rudolph Walker and Butterflies actress Wendy Craig all become CBEs.

So does trailblazing DJ Annie Nightingale, the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1.

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Ainsley Harriott and Nadiya Hussain are now MBEs

Queen drummer Roger Taylor and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol – whose track Chasing Cars was recently named the most listened-to song of the 21st Century on UK radio – now have OBE after their names. The Northern Irish singer-songwriter, who has campaigned to raise awareness of dementia lost his father Jack to the condition over Christmas.

Wine expert Oz Clarke, playwright James Graham, food writer Nigel Slater,cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and broadcaster June Sarpong – the BBC’s new director of creative diversity – are all OBEs now too.

Chef Ainsley Harriott, Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and children’s TV favourite Derek Griffiths become MBEs, as do British-Trinidadian pop singer Billy Ocean and Mike Pender of Merseybeat band The Searchers.

So do fashionista Gok Wan, BBC Sport’s Gabby Logan and Hamilton star Giles Terera, who recently made headlines after accusing a London blues bar of racial profiling – claims the bar denied.

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