Benedict Cumberbatch was honored by Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday (Nov. 10) for his efforts helping charity and the performing arts. Bowing before the Queen, he received a Commander of the British Empire award — an honor previously awarded to such notables as Michael Caine, Agatha Christie and Richard Attenborough.
Presented a short time after the “Star Trek Into Darkness” actor made headlines by ranting against UK politics, he later defended his actions to reporters.
“I’m interested in trying to help people,” Cumberbatch says of the backlash he received after he stood onstage during a production of “Hamlet” and solicited donations for Syrian refugees by blaming his government’s inaction. “I’m not interested in what flack I’m taking.”
The 39-year-old actor was clearly quite pleased by the honor of receiving his CBE, a turquoise medal shaped like a cross and hanging from a ribbon. Nevertheless, he told the Associated Press that meeting the Queen was “quite nerve-wracking.”
Cumberbatch, nominated for a best actor Oscar for “The Imitation Game,” has raised $227,000 in donations for Save the Children, a charity that assists Syrian refugees.
Also honored in the festivities was Kevin Spacey (receiving an honorary knighthood) and Eddie Redmayne (an Order of the British Empire, or OBE). But before you start referring to the “House of Cards” star as “Sir” Kevin Spacey, only British citizens are allowed to be called Sir or Dame.