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Best Supporting Actress – Maggie Smith, “Gosford Park”

Film: Gosford Park

Previous wins for role: None

Previous Oscar wins/nominations:
Nominated, for Best Supporting Actress, A Room with a View (1986)
Won for Best Supporting Actress, California Suite (1978)
Nominated for Best Actress, Travels with My Aunt (1972)
Won for Best Actress, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1970)
Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Othello (1965)

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Character bio: Smith plays Constance, Countess of Trentham, the hostess Lady Sylvia’s cantankerous, imperious old aunt, who visits the magnificent country estate Gosford Park. Constance is a wisecracking old sod who’s used to being waited on hand and foot, and whose tongue-lashings are wickedly sharp (and funny). Constance, despite her station, isn’t above wanting to hear the latest gossip among the servants.

Oscar odds: This being Dame Maggie’s sixth nomination, she’s no stranger to the pressure of being a nominee, even if it has been 16 years since her last Oscar nod. There’s an extraordinary ensemble cast assembled for Gosford Park, yet it’s Smith, in particular, that shines in the movie; she gets laughs with her light, squirrelly touch–reminding you what a terrific comic actress she is. But given the buzz surrounding Jennifer Connelly’s stellar outing in A Beautiful Mind and In the Bedroom‘s overall buzz among the Hollywood cognoscenti (and that she’s won no other awards for this role), it’s hard to envision Dame Maggie ascending the stage to claim her third Oscar. —Noah Davis

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