Benedict Cumberbatch dedicates award to new fiancée Sophie Hunter

Benedict Cumberbatch gave a special mention to his leading lady Sophie Hunter as he accepted an award for his contribution to film on Sunday night. The couple, who announced their engagement last month, were attending the British Independent Film Awards in London.

While Benedict lost out on winning the best actor prize, the Sherlock star was presented with The Variety Award for helping "focus the international spotlight on the UK".

Striding up on stage in an all-back suit, Benedict, 38, honoured his family and new fiancée Sophie in a heartfelt speech.



Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch announced their engagement last month

"There are legions of people who supported me to a point where I can just get up in the morning and do my job," said Benedict.

"My home team – my mother and father and my fiancée Sophie. This belongs to all of you. Making you proud is a wonderful engine to do what I do."

Admitting that he had never felt "more nervous" in his life, Benedict thanked all those involved with working in his films, and explained how the award would inspire him for future projects.


Benedict Cumberbatch dedicated his award to his parents and fiancée Sophie Hunter

"It's a ridiculous honour to be here, not least because of the output and the standard of previous recipients," said the London-born actor. "I feel this is a very premature way to acknowledge mine, but it will inspire me to work harder to feel like I deserve it, and that won't really be difficult because I love my job.

"I love my industry, I love the people I get to work with, a lot of whom are in this room. I love the communities and the families that each job brings together, and I love how proud we can all be in taking stock of moments like this."


Sophie Okonedo and winner Emma Thompson mingled with Benedict Cumberbatch

During the ceremony, Benedict celebrated his win by pouring champagne into a tower of glasses. The Imitation Game star stayed close to his wife Sophie, who looked pretty in a brown leather dress that fell mid-calf.

The theatre director, who first met Benedict on the set of 2009 film Burlesque Fairytales but didn't start dating him until last year, looked as proud as punch as she watched her husband-to-be accept his gong.

The couple were joined by fellow Brits Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and Emma Thompson on the night, with Emma winning the Richard Harris Award for her outstanding contribution to British film.