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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Oscars 2022: Olivia Colman’s rise to fame – from car insurance ads to Academy Award winning actress

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Olivia Colman is an absolute powerhouse actress who has starred in The Crown, Fleabag, Broadchurch alongside David Tennant and many more.

The Academy Award winning actress is nominated again for her role as Leda in 2021’s The Lost Daughter, after previously winning an Oscar for Best Actress in 2019 for her role in The Favourite.

The 48-year-old actress, who is on track to win her second Oscar in the Best Actress category, started off her career in comedy and insurance ads.

Like most actors, Olivia didn’t just waltz into big budget Hollywood products, she made a name for herself in the UK starring in Peep Show and Hot Fuzz.

Here’s a little insight into Olivia’s career so far..



Olivia Colman Attends The 91St Oscars Nominee Champagne Tea Reception


© Dave J Hogan/Getty Images
Olivia Colman attends the 91st Oscars Nominee Champagne Tea Reception

Early career

Olivia had ambitions of being an actor from a young age, like “a secret dream, like talking to animals”, she told Forbes.

On her road to fame, the mother-of-two had trouble with studying before landing her breakout role in Peep Show.

“I had to go back to school for an extra year as I did so badly in my final exams,” the kooky actress told The Hollywood Reporter.

“No uni would have me. So I went to Homerton in Cambridge [to become a teacher] but didn’t last there for very long [because] I wasn’t very good at studying.”

However, after two years studying at Bristol Old Vic drama school, she discovered life as a working actor was not going to be easy.

“I worked as a temp and cleaner for quite a long time but then Lindy King from what was called PFD took me on from the show at the end of drama school so had her on my side,” Colman recalls.

“She was putting me up for all sorts but I wasn’t getting any auditions.”

In spite of all the knock backs, she was determined to battle on.

“I was never crushed [by disappointment] because I knew I couldn’t do anything else.”

Olivia’s first acting credit was her role as a journalist interviewing David Brent, played by Ricky Gervais, in the Office UK.

But her real breakout role was in BBC’s Peep Show, alongside David Mitchell and Robert Webb.

Olivia played Sophie Chapman in the sitcom, as viewers saw David Mitchell’s character Mark fall in love with Sophie – until the duo realized they hated each other after their wedding.

After this, Olivia had roles in other huge British TV shows like Skins, Doctor Who, Green Wing and Rev.

After Broadchurch

Video: Nominations for the 2022 Academy Awards (PA Media)

Nominations for the 2022 Academy Awards

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Colman starred alongside Scottish actor David Tennant as a police officer duo in ITV’s Broadchurch series.

Her profile was significantly raised when she landed the role of DS Ellie Miller on Broadchurch and she even scooped a Best Actress BAFTA.

She would go on to appear in the BBC miniseries The Night Manager as a British intelligence operative for which she won a best-supporting actress Golden Globe.

“Olivia Colman has got it made now,” former OK! Associate Editor Phil Gould tells Forbes.

“She has really grafted hard over the years and made a fair amount of money from the British shows that she has appeared on.

“But now, after having scooped a Golden Globe and an Oscar, she is a much more bankable star and will attract more job offers and looks set to earn more money in the next year or so than she has over the past twenty!”

“It’s unlikely she’ll be earning the same kind of fees just yet as Hollywood big hitters like Scarlett Johansson and Emma Stone, but it all depends on the roles she is offered and accepts,” Gould explains.

“She’s a character actress like Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham-Carter so is unlikely to land a role in a big glossy big budget vehicle straight away.

“But then again, who’d have thought that Meryl famed for her dramatic roles in Sophie’s Choice and Kramer Vs Kramer would have ended up doing Mamma Mia, or Helena joining the cast of Oceans 8.”

Despite going on to find fame and become one of the UK’s most successful actresses, Colman is not a fan.

“I hate the loss of anonymity,” she told The Independent.

“No one teaches you how to deal with that. I now just tend to stay home because it’s so weird not to be on an equal footing with people.

“They know your face, and you don’t know them. It’s not that people aren’t lovely, but it’s harder to deal with than you imagine.”

Olivia was recognized for her stand out roles as Step Mother in Fleabag and Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown.

Taking a step out of her comfort zone, Olivia begged Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller Bridge to make her character as ‘awful as possible’.

“I think I begged Phoebe to be in it, when she was writing the first [season],” Colman told Entertainment Weekly.

“I will be eternally grateful to Phoebe, because she said, ‘What sort of things do you want to say?’ And I went, ‘Could you write in someone who’s a total c***?’ So she made up this person for me.”

She went onto to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her role in the comedy series Fleabag.

For her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix period drama series The Crown, she received two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award, among others.



Olivia Coleman Attends The 92Nd Annual Academy Awards


© Amy Sussman/Getty Images
Olivia Coleman attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards

Oscars 2022

Olivia is nominated for Best Actress for her role as Leda in The Lost Daughter her portrayal of a college professor on holiday in Greece, who reveals herself to be “an unnatural mother”.

If she goes onto win Best Actress at the 2022 Academy Awards, Coleman goes onto join an exclusive club of actresses who have managed to secure the award twice.

Only 12 actresses have gone on to win the impressive accolade twice – Jane Fonda for Klute and Coming Home, Jodie Foster for The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs, Meryl Streep for Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady, Hilary Swank for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby and Elizabeth Taylor Butterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, to name a few.

Colman was nominated for Best Actress for the second time in 2020 for her performance in The Father, but lost out to Renée Zellweger for her performance in Judy.

For the Best Actress category, Olivia is up against – Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Brooke, Kristen Stewart for Spencer, Nicole Kidman for Being The Ricardos and Penelope Cruz for Madres Paralelas.

The Lost Daughter is nominated in three categories for the 2022 award ceremony – Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.

This years Academy Awards ceremony takes place on 28 March 2022.

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