Who is Olivia Colman? From “Peep Show” to Oscars win

Olivia Colman, winner of Best Actress for 'The Favourite,' poses in the press room during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood,...

Who is Olivia Colman and what should you know? Olivia Colman’s ‘surprise’ win for best actress in “The Favourite” was the most satisfying takeaway from last night’s Oscars, a testament to how far the actress has come in a handful of years.

Olivia Colman’s first Oscar win may have come as a surprise to some, but it didn’t come as a surprise to me. It was a thoroughly deserved award for a thoroughly impressive performance, as Colman inhabited the damaged, unstable Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos’ period drama The Favourite.

The Academy (and the Americans more generally) have always had a soft spot for royal stories on the big screen, with past plaudits for The King’s Speech and The Queen springing to mind. The Favourite however, was something else entirely, centring its plot around a miserable, gullible and fundamentally short-sighted monarch. Colman took to the challenge magnificently, stripping the typical pomp and dignity from such a role, whilst finding real moments of humour and pathos in the ensuing love triangle between herself, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.

As a tearful Colman took to the stage last night, you could physically feel what a surreal moment this must have been for her. ‘This is hilarious, I’ve got an Oscar’, Colman nervously stuttered, before declaring ‘this isn’t going to happen again’ and blowing an actual raspberry when told it was time to finish her speech. You could also sense how far Colman’s acting career has come, especially as she recalled her time spent as a cleaner, an occupation which left a great deal of time for imagination.

To most people in Britain Colman was first known as Sophie from Peep Show. It was a tricky part to play in one of TV’s great sitcoms, as her character was so often the victim of Mark Corrigan’s foolishness and ineptitude. Yet, it’s wonderful to see Peep Show as the major starting point to Colman’s career. It demanded humility, which Colman still carries to this day. It also spring boarded her to ITV drama Broadchurch alongside David Tennant, a remarkable feat considering Super Hans is still doing DJ sets.

In light of Colman’s Oscar win, as well as all her great performances, it’s clear she deserves every ounce of recognition and success. As touching as last night’s speech was, Colman was wrong to say this won’t happen again, because it surely will. Colman is soon to take over from Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in season 3 of The Crown, a move which could take her to the upper echelons of acting royalty. It’s a prospect which is fully within Colman’s grasp. For now it’s just brilliant to watch the woman once jilted by Mark Corrigan at the altar win the greatest prize in acting.

In other news from the Academy Awards, see how Green Book beat Roma to win best picture

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