Monday, February 26, 2007

Oldest Woman, Helen Mirren Reigns at Oscars with "The Queen"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britain's Helen Mirren won the best actress Oscar on Sunday for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in the royal drama "The Queen".

It was the first Oscar for Mirren, 61, who has already swept up more than 20 major awards for her portrayal of the reserved British monarch in the days after the sudden death in 1997 of Princess Diana.

The Oscar crowned a sensational 12 months for Mirren who demonstrated her range and won critical acclaim for playing an earlier British queen in the television series "Elizabeth 1" and a hard-bitten, alcoholic detective in television's "Prime Suspect".

The silver-haired actress, a 40 year veteran of stage, screen and television, won universal praise for her nuanced portrayal of Queen Elizabeth, whose traditional stiff upper lip is challenged and misunderstood by an emotional public grieving for the popular and glamorous Diana.

Mirren studied hours of tapes for the role as the very private monarch and her appearance on the film confounded her image as a mature but sultry actress who has appeared nude in more than a dozen movies, including at age 58 in "The Calendar Girls."

It is unknown if the real queen has seen the movie since Buckingham Palace has a policy of never revealing her personal preferences in books or movies.

Mirren became one of the oldest women to win an acting Oscar, joining Katharine Hepburn, Jessica Tandy and fellow Briton Judi Dench among the handful of females over 60 to get the honor in Hollywood where youthful beauty is worshiped.

In a category dominated by Britons, Mirren beat Dench and Kate Winslet, Spain's Penelope Cruz and perennial U.S. favorite Meryl Streep to win Sunday's Oscar.

For a Full Coverage of the Oscar Winners -

Best Picture : The Departed
Best Director : Martin Scorsese
Best Actress : Helen Mirren
Best Actor : Forest Whitaker
Best Supporting Actress : Jennifer Hudson
Best Supporting Actor : Alan Arkin

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