Royal Female Roles With Oscar Nominations
Any Oscar season that has three queens potentially competing in the acting categories has a chance to become a battle royal, indeed. The end of the year brings tidings of two British period pieces rich with zesty female performances, one from the early 18th century during Queen Anne’s reign and the other the mid-16th century when Elizabeth I got into it with her Scottish cousin, Mary.
“The Favourite,” which opens on Nov. 23, has already reaped rewards at the Venice film festival, where it had its world premiere. Olivia Colman was crowned best actress for her portrait of portly and frail monarch Anne while her movie was bestowed with a Special Jury Prize. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ previous English-language efforts, “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” are distinctly eccentric and disturbingly dark. But even critics like Variety’s Owen Gleiberman, who were put off his off-kilter perspective embraced “The Favourite,” while proclaiming, “It’s a perfectly cut diamond of a movie – a finely executed, coldly entertaining entry in the genre of savage misanthropic baroque costume drama.”
As for “Mary, Queen of Scots,” there will be no early festival reveals until it arrives in theaters on Dec. 7. Unlike Queen Anne, this tale of rival female monarchs has been filmed at least six previous times, including the 1923 silent movie, “The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots,” 1936’s “Mary of Scotland” directed by John Ford and starring Katharine Hepburn as Mary and 2007’s “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” with Cate Blanchett reprising her 1998 title role. While the trailer suggests that this is a much more traditional rendering, it does distinguish itself in at least two ways. Its 20-something leading ladies, Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth, are younger than is the norm. And the director is a female making her big-screen debut: Josie Rourke, the first woman to be named artistic director of London’s distinguished Donmar Warehouse Theater in London.
To get in the mood, here are the 12 times that Oscar decided to bow before actresses by allowing them to compete for the crown of either Best Supporting Actress or Best Actress. Our photo gallery above includes “Shakespeare in Love,” “The Queen,” “The King’s Speech” and more.