In a perfect world, Olivia Colman would be as heavily tipped for the Best Actress Oscar as Meryl Streep — sight unseen in the latter star’s case, while the little-known Brit’s stunning breakout performance in “Tyrannosaur” has been wowing critics since her film’s Sundance debut.
Of course, this is no perfect world, and Colman, together with her tiny, downbeat film will have to fight tooth and nail for even a percentage point of the media attention given to Streep — though in a curious twist of the season, it’s the American megastar who could give this darkest of horses her biggest boost in the race. For Colman will next be seen opposite Streep herself, playing Margaret Thatcher’s daughter Carol in “The Iron Lady” — an appearance that should raise her profile immensely going into awards season.
Colman, meanwhile, is doing her bit by singing the praises of the 16-time Oscar nominee’s eagerly awaited Thatcher interpretation, describing it in a Radio 4 interview as “brilliant.”
“I couldn’t quite believe I was in the same room or city as Meryl Streep. I was quite grateful that she was covered in prosthetics so she didn’t quite look like her, otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to function at all… It’s spooky, it’s proper, spine-chilling spooky, it’s brilliant.”
Not, of course, that you’d expect her to be any less effusive in her praise. As keen as I am to see what Streep has served up, I’m equally interested to see how much Colman has been given to chew on with the potentially tasty role of Carol, a latter-day media target in her own right: a strong turn in a film this heavily hyped would seal the TV comedienne’s arrival this year as a big-screen actress to be reckoned with.
Happily, Colman’s British awards chances for “Tyrannosaur,” which hits UK screens today, are coming into focus with a raft of uniformly glowing reviews for her work. Time Out’s David Jenkins perhaps tellingly namechecks an against-the-odds Oscar nominee from 15 years ago, gushing that Colman’s “astonishing turn as Hannah scales the same excruciatingly fragile heights as Emily Watson in ‘Breaking the Waves””, while the Evening Standard’s David Sexton describes her as “a dramatic actress of rare commitment.”
Finally, the Telegraph’s Robbie Collin doesn’t dance around the idea of awards attention, emphatically stating that “her brave, unguarded performance should (and hopefully will) net her a Best Actress nomination at the BAFTAs.” Here’s hoping everyone isn’t too busy looking ahead to her “Iron Lady” co-star to notice the powerhouse right under their noses.