I woke up on Monday morning to hear that Olivia Colman had won the best actress Oscar for her role in The Favourite. I was so happy, not because I loved the film as I didn’t (sorry to those who did but it was a ‘Marmite’ film for most). No it was because not only is Olivia Colman an outstanding actress but she seems such a wonderfully natural and endearing person. Didn’t you love the raspberry she blew at the producers who asked her to wind up during her acceptance speech?
I think we can now safely say that Olivia Colman has become a National Treasure and has joined that exceptional club with members such as Judi Dench, The Queen, Mary Berry, Helen Mirren, and Maggie Smith. It even includes men such as the late Terry Wogan (my early mornings are not the same without his Irish lilt waking me up) and David Attenborough’s soothing voice inspiring us to save the planet.
What makes a national treasure I wonder? What is the common denominator with the women? I think it is that they are just them, no frills and flounces, not Botoxed and filled to make them look 30 years old. They have aged gracefully and in some cases delightfully disgracefully. In the case of the women they scrub up for the glamorous moments – I mean didn’t you love Olivia Colman’s cropped hair cut and her dress by Prada?
It was a long, sleeveless A-line turtleneck gown in emerald green silk radzimir — plus a smoky-gray silk organza cape with puffed sculpted sleeves. Designed to be draped around the shoulders, it was gathered into a giant bow at the back (something Ms. Colman had secretly always desired) that cascaded into an embroidered train covered in Swarovski crystal flowers. It was dreamy, simple, stylish, and did the job beautifully – much like Olivia Colman always does.
She looked amazing but that is not what won me over. Rather it was an earlier statement she made about finding a dress for awards ceremonies and premieres.
“I have never felt confident having to do any photographs or red carpet,” Olivia Colman, 45, said this month by email. “Being someone else is easy; being me is torture during those events.”Olivia Colman
I don’t want to be her but I just want to know her. I want her as my BFF. I can imagine an evening drinking wine, being irreverent, sharing gossip (hers would be so much better than mine) and knowing that all your secrets were safe with her. She would never laugh at your faults or misdemeanours but would be so self-deprecating you would be the one left feeling like a film-star, with one helluva hangover, by the end of the night.
What did she say during her BAFTA acceptance speech?
“We’re gonna get so pissed later…” It was so bumbling, so self-deprecating and amusingly ‘British’ that for the briefest of moments, those present in the Royal Albert Hall and watching at home must have forgotten it was the first time they had laughed all evening. There was no script-writer’s joke badly delivered. No it was pure Olivia Colman, natural and from the heart.
Anybody who’s seen Broadchurch knows she’s more than happy to look tired, grumpy and dishevelled. In fact, with the exception of a few eccentric period roles, she has played entirely normal, relatable women.
Colman has referred to herself as “more a jeans-with-something-spilled-on-it person” than the typical Hollywood star, and that is fundamental to her charm.
However a very good entry card to the National Treasures Club is to play a Queen. Think of Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith. What connects them all? Other than their Damehoods, they have all played at least one Queen of England. So has Colman, of course, with Queen Anne in The Favourite, and the Queen Mother in Hyde Park on Hudson. Later this year, she goes one further by playing Queen Elizabeth II in the third series of The Crown.
I cannot wait to see the next two series of The Crown not least because once again the Netflix/The Crown producers have nailed this series by choosing a much favoured actress, now Oscar winner, Olivia Colman, to play the leader of this unofficial club, Our National Treasures. Now all she needs is a Damehood and even that won’t spoil her as she will always be the lady next door or at least the lady that you would like to live next door to.