Samantha Morton Dedicates BAFTA Fellowship to “Every Child in Care” and Poverty

Samantha Morton

Samantha Morton, the British actor (She SaidThe WhaleFantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemThe Walking Dead), writer (I Am…Kirsty) and director (The Unloved), received the BAFTA Fellowship, the British Academy’s highest honour at the BAFTA Film Awards in London on Sunday. But the outspoken star used her moment on stage to share very emotional words about children who live in poverty or who can’t live safely at home.

“For me, this is really nothing short of a miracle,” Morton said about receiving the honour, recalling how she was “hungry” and “cold” as a kid growing up in poverty.

“Film changed my life, it transformed me,” she continued. “When I first saw Ken Loach’s Kes… I was forever changed” seeing “poverty, people like me, my life and my family on the screen,” she said. Her conclusion: “Representation matters.”

Like British director Loach, Morton has often criticised the ruling Conservative Party in the UK of hurting people and society with austerity measures.

It was no surprise then that Morton shared her moment on stage with those who are struggling. “I dedicate this award to every child in care today, or who has been in care or has been suffering or who didn’t survive,” she said.

Her mantra is ‘dreams do come true’.

And Samantha Morton’s own miracle story of escaping a traumatic childhood of poverty, violence and sexual abuse for Hollywood stardom has inspired millions and made her one of Britain’s best-loved actors.

Her BAFTA Fellowship Award marked an extraordinary journey for Nottingham-born Sam, who spent a decade in foster care and children’s homes before she was ‘saved’ by acting – describing seeing Ken Loach’s Kes at school as a lightning bolt moment that inspired her to pursue it as a career.

The actress, who grew up in foster care and made BAFTA winning TV drama The Unloved about a girl growing up in the system, said: ‘It costs the taxpayer a huge amount of money to keep a child in care, to take care of them.

“And that money is wasted and spent ridiculously.

“I used to say when I was a kid of many children’s homes, I used to say, ‘It’d be great, why don’t I just go to some fancy boarding school? At least then I get an education’. But that wasn’t on the cards.

“To those kids in care, don’t allow the system to drag you down because it can and it will.”