Maggie Smith Proves Once Again That She Is a Rock Star
On March 31, a private lunch was held at the National Liberal Club, honoring the winners of the 2015 Critic’s Circle Award. Among the worthy candidates was none other than Dame Maggie Smith who was presented the Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts, receiving an engraved crystal rose bowl.
Even under the weather, she was honored to step behind the microphone and did so with true grace and beauty. Retelling stories from the beginning of her acting career, she tells a memorable one about the time she picked up a newspaper during the filming of Othello and read a negative review.
There was a review in there, and it was absolutely lethal and truly frightening. It was for The Master Builder at the National, and I remember bursting into tears.
With her during this moment in history was her Othello co-star, Frank Finley, who gave her a great big hug followed with a particularly laughable piece of advice:
What you must think about is how many actresses you’ve made very happy.
Of course, her role in Othello would soon go on to earn her her first Oscar nomination, but she was scared nonetheless. Little did she know that she would eventually go on to rule the world of theater, film, and television.
Her Wikipedia page has a longer list of accomplishments than anyone I have ever seen, prompting me to question my top five favorite roles she has played (which was very difficult, I might add).
- The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: This 1969 drama was based off of the novel by Muriel Spark. Maggie Smith starred as Jean Brodie, and when she wasn’t stunningly beautiful, her acting and sheer presence made the film that much more amazing. I guess this is why she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
- California Suite: This hilarious comedy follows five couples who have all come to the Beverly Hills Hotel for different reasons. Maggie’s character, Diana Barrie, is a British actress who has been nominated for an Oscar. This is actually a coincidence when you realize that she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in this movie.
- Downton Abbey: Maggie Smith totally and utterly embodies the role of Violet Crawley in this television series. When Violet wanders into Downton’s drawing room, we can fully expect put-downs, snobbery, and terrific one-liners, but underneath it all, she knows better than the rest of the Abbey’s population what love and honor truly look like.
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: This is a relatively new movie, but it is fantastic nonetheless. Maggie plays the role of Muriel, a retired housekeeper who finds herself in India to undergo a hip replacement operation, a more inexpensive alternative than doing it at home. Oh, and did I mention she has a prejudice against Indians? Overall, it is great, hilarious movie and earned Smith several nominations and a Women Film Critics Circle Award.
- Harry Potter movies: Last but not least, I think we can all agree that her portrayal as Minerva McGonagall in the Potter films is unmatched. The casting for her role was spectacular because you could not have found someone as equally spunky as she is stern than Dame Maggie Smith. The similarities between movie McGonagall and book McGonagall are uncanny thanks to her fabulous acting and terrific personality.
What are your favorite Maggie Smith roles? Let us know in the comments and watch her full acceptance speech for the Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts below!