It was 50 years ago that the one and only Dame Maggie Smith won her first Oscar as Best Actress for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (1969). Not only is the length of her career impressive, but the breadth of her performances is astonishing. In honor of her anniversary, let’s take a look back at 12 of her greatest films, ranked worst to best.
In awards alone, she is one of the most honored actresses currently working. Smith has been nominated for six Academy Awards, winning two (for 1969’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” in lead and 1978’s “California Suite” in supporting, making her one of only six actresses to have won the Oscar in both categories). For her film roles, Smith has won two Golden Globes (for “California Suite” and 1986’s “A Room With a View”) from nine nominations, and she won a Screen Actors Guild Award (for 2001’s “Gosford Park”) out of three SAG noms. She has also earned four Emmy Awards (for 2003’s “My Night in Umbria,” as well as three statues for “Downton Abbey”), and has been nominated for three TV Golden Globes (winning one for “Downton”) and nine SAG TV awards (winning four times, all for “Downton”). To add to all that, Smith has received three Tony Award nominations for Broadway work, winning for 1990’s “Lettice and Lovage.”
In addition to her current “Tea With the Dames,” Smith will be back on the big screen next September for the film version “Downton Abbey,” which may very likely bring her back to the award stage once again. Until then, let’s raise a glass of the bubbly to the great Dame and celebrate by counting down and ranking the 12 best Maggie Smith films. Tour the photo gallery above, which ranks a dozen from worst to best, including all of the ones mentioned above.