Olivia Colman became a global star when she took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in The Favourite.
For film and TV fans in the UK, however, Colman has been a familiar face for over a decade. The actor first won recognition for her roles in sketch comedy series Bruiser and The Mitchell and Webb Situation, alongside frequent collaborators David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
After branching out with a more dramatically demanding role in the acclaimed British sitcom Peep Show, Colman transitioned into more fully dramatic roles in independent British films and TV series.
Her role in Tyrannosaur in 2011 was, until recently, her most highly praised performance, and Colman bagged several top acting honours on the festival circuit. She also received the Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV miniseries or Television Film for her role in the BBC's adaptation of The Night Manager.
For her Oscar-winning turn in Yorgos Lanthimos’ fiendish satire The Favourite, Colman played the petulant, gout-stricken Queen Anne.
Drawing on all her experience as a comic actress, Colman does an expert job of making the Queen a ludicrous figure, to be laughed at as much as pitied.
But to those who have watched her throughout her career, Colman’s abilities should be of no surprise.
Here are five of Olivia Colman’s best roles before The Favourite.
Peep Show (2003-2015)
For many years, Colman’s most recognisable role was that of Peep Show’s Sophie, the on-again, off-again girlfriend and fiancé of the stuffy Mark Corrigan (David Mitchell). Colman proved a deft and versatile comic actor across her 32 appearances, often stealing focus from former Bruiser co-stars Mitchell and Robert Webb.
That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006-2008)
Colman had previously acted with Mitchell and Webb on Bruiser and The Mitchell and Webb Situation, and That Mitchell and Webb Look – a sketch show adapted from a BBC Radio 4 comedy series - features some of the actress’s strongest comedic work.
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Hot Fuzz (2007)
Edgar Wright cast Colman in Hot Fuzz as Doris Thatcher, a small-town police constable with a penchant for double entendres. Colman may have only been a bit-part player in the blackly comic story of murder and conspiracy in a small Gloucestershire village, but Hot Fuzz’s cult popularity has made this one of her most beloved roles.
Colman won a host of awards for her performance in Paddy Considine's punishingly bleak drama Tyrannosaur, in which she plays a victim of domestic abuse. She was praised for lending depth and humanity to a harrowing and violent story that proved too grim to enter the mainstream.
ITV’s police procedural starred Colman as Dorset-based investigator Ellie Miller, a role which earned her a BAFTA and an Emmy. The series was praised for its humane handling of child abduction, and Colman’s instant chemistry with David Tennant (who played her partner) helped make the show a ratings success.
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