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Best Supporting Actress – Helen Mirren, “Gosford Park”

Film: Gosford Park

Previous wins for role: Best supporting actress, New York Film Critics Circle; best supporting actress, National Society of Film Critics

Previous Oscar wins/nominations:
Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, The Madness of King George (1994)

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Character bio: Mirren plays the ultimate self-sacrificing servant in Gosford Park. Her Mrs. Wilson is the respected head housekeeper to the grand Gosford Park estate, where she has served her employer, Sir William McCordle, all her life. When it becomes apparent to her–and to us–just how much she has sacrificed, her breakdown literally rips the film at its seams.

Oscar odds: Mirren is an extraordinarily talented actress, having had a long career of wonderful performances on both stage and screen. From Peter Greenaway’s disturbing The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover to her turn as Superintendent Jane Tennison in the BBC’s excellent Prime Suspect TV series, Mirren has displayed true versatility. Although a few critics have picked her, her chances for an Oscar may be weakened by her Gosford co-star Maggie Smith’s supporting nod as well. And they both have to get past Jennifer Connelly for A Beautiful Mind.–Kit Bowen

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