“I went on a private jet and I ate constantly throughout the film and it was brilliant,” said Olivia Colman in her Golden Globes acceptance speech. It was a typically unstuffy sentiment from an actor who has been widely praised for her performance as one queen – Anne, in The Favourite – and is about to play another, Elizabeth II, in the third series of the blockbuster Netflix drama The Crown.
Ms Colman’s success is well deserved. She graduated from a part in the Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show to the ITV detective drama Broadchurch and the BBC adaptation of John le Carré’s The Night Manager, showing an equal aptitude for comedy and drama. Even better, she is representative of an important trend towards greater, and broader, representation of older women on screen. Actresses have often complained about the dearth of good roles as they get older – but at 44, Ms Colman appears to be just getting started. The Favourite, which tells a story of intrigue and love at Queen Anne’s court, is now tipped for glory at the Oscars. Its success further erodes the widely held idea that films with female leads are commercially risky. Long live Queen Olivia.
This article appears in the 09 Jan 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The Brexit Showdown