This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.
Olivia Colman poses in the press room during the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo: Getty Images)

We’re heading into the 91st Academy Awards ceremony this coming weekend on Sunday, February 24. Olivia Colman has been collecting award after award for her role as Queen Anne in the comical biopic The Favourite, which she has also received a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

While we wait to see the outcome, it does beg the question: “How did she get here?” You’re probably sped up on Colman’s filmography, but here are some of her standout roles that would be fun to go back and watch again as we head into the big event. Sometimes we catch something new the second — or even third — time around.

1. Bruiser (2000)

The sketch comedy Bruiser, co-written by David Mitchell and Robert Webb, kicked off in 2000. Martin Freeman (Sherlock) takes on roles like that of a worry wart, a James Bond type, and a man with a pixelated face.  Colman plays his foil, like the attractive woman he’s trying to impress at a backyard BBQ. Or, the nurse who tells very inappropriate stories at get-togethers. While quite amusing, her nurse role may be deemed NSFW, but you can take a peek over at YouTube.

2. Peep Show (2003-2015)

Colman teamed up with Bruiser co-creators Mitchell and Webb for the 2003 comedy Peep Show, which ran through 2015. This time around, Mitchell and Webb both wrote and starred in the series as two 20-something roommates sharing a flat in London. The two fellas, Mark (Mitchell) and Jeremy (Webb), are pretty typical guys, but they keep finding themselves in atypical situations. Colman plays the role of Sophie, Mark’s work colleague who he is completely obsessed with. Who can blame him!?

3. Doctor Who (2010)

In 2010, Colman stepped into the Whoniverse, starring in Doctor Who‘s “The Eleventh Hour,” opposite Matt SmithKaren Gillan, Arthur Darvill. She takes on the role of a mother of two children, who is in a coma. Clearly, based on the above clip, there’s more to her character’s story than being bedridden. Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat reflects on working with Colman on DW, saying to the RadioTimes it was “just a heartbeat before she (Colman) was stratospheric.”

4. The Iron Lady (2011)

2011’s The Iron Lady starred Meryl Streep in the title role as Margaret Thatcher, the first ever female and longest running Prime Minister of the U.K. Colman joined the all-star cast as Thatcher’s daughter Carol. This is one of the more series roles for Colman. In the above clip, Colman talks about how her role helps show the affectionate side of such an important person.

5. Twenty Twelve (2011-2012)

The mockumentary Twenty Twelve follows the group of people responsible for organizing the 2012 Olympics, hosted in London. They don’t seem to be quite up to speed as they need to be to pull off such a monumental event, with more mishaps and blunders than there is planning. The ensemble cast is made up of Colman, Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Hynes, Samuel Barnett, with David Tennant narrating.

6. Rev. (2010-2014)

Colman has a good track record of starring in cult classics, including the comedy Rev. opposite Tom Hollander. Hollander took on the role of an Anglican vicar, Rev. Adam Smallbone with Colman playing the vicar’s wife. In the above, Colman gives us a rundown of the series. The presenter says to her in the interview, that a vicar’s wife is “absolutely perfect.” Hmm, maybe not her version?

7. Broadchurch (2013-2017)

One of Colman’s more recent roles, and most memorable, was as DS Ellie Miller in BBC America’s crime drama Broadchurch, written by Chris Chibnall (Doctor Who). She and David Tennant play the lead detectives investigating the death of young Danny Latimer. The two detectives don’t have the best introduction, with Tennant’s character DI Alec Hardy receiving a promotion that Miller was promised. Even so, they need to put egos aside to search for Danny’s killer. And, before she was The Doctor, Jodie Whittaker took on the role of Danny’s bereaved mother.

8. The Lobster (2015) 

In 2015, Colman starred in the quirky, not-so-romantic romantic comedy The Lobster, opposite Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. In a dystopian future, single people are singled out for not being married, taken to The Hotel where they are given 45 days to couple-up. If unsuccessful, they are turned into an animal… of their choice (at least). Colman runs the hotel, delving out rules and punishments.

9. The Night Manager (2016)

Colman also starred in AMC’s adaptation of John le Carré‘s The Night Manager. Tom Hiddleston takes on the role of Jonathan Pine, who manages a high-end hotel in Cairo, Egypt. But, he seems to have a skill-set that goes beyond waiting on the rich. That’s due to his being a former soldier in the British military. Colman plays an intelligence operative who recruits Pine to help stop an arms dealer (Hugh Laurie) who is staying at the hotel.

10. Fleabag (2016)

And, finally, Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge cast Colman as Godmother to her character. One would think a Godmother is a caretaker… but, not always. In the above clip, we find out what happens when your Godmother is, umm, a b*tch. Waller-Bridge also wrote and acted as showrunner for season one of BBC America’s Killing Eve.

And, a bonus mention, we haven’t even seen Colman’s yet-to-come portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the next season of The Crown, which will most likely bring even more accolades.

After going back through these performances, what do you think — is she going to win!? 

Read More
By Brigid Brown