Top British film award for Bond star Naomie Harris

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James Bond star Naomie Harris is to receive the Variety Award at the forthcoming British Independent Film Awards (Bifa) for helping to shine a spotlight on film in the UK.

She follows Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Sir Michael Caine, Dame Helen Mirren and Daniel Craig in winning the prestigious prize.

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet won the honour last year.

Naomie Harris
Naomie Harris (Grant Pollard/AP)

Naomie, who is best known for playing Eve Moneypenny in the last two Bond films, Skyfall and Spectre, said she is "touched and honoured to be included alongside such an inspiring and talented group of film-makers".

She added: "Working in film has given me the chance to tell stories from around the world - and I'm incredibly proud to represent British film-making when doing so. I'm excited to be home to be part of this year's Bifas."

Naomie Harris and Daniel Craig
Naomie Harris and Daniel Craig (Gabriel Pecot/AP)

Praise for the 40-year-old comes from the likes of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, who dubbed her a "phenomenally talented" actress after working with her on 2002 movie 28 Days Later and a 2011 stage production of Frankenstein.

London-born Naomie portrayed Winnie Mandela in 2013 biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom opposite Idris Elba.

Her other credits include roles in Southpaw and two of the Pirates Of The Caribbean films, and she will soon appear opposite Kate and Will Smith in Collateral Beauty, for which she is already tipped for Bafta and Oscar success.

The nominations for the 2016 Bifas will be announced on November 1. The ceremony will take place on December 4.