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All Hail The Queen

Friday, September 29----With the exception of devotees of certain specific bars in Chelsea, it is rather rare for someone to be hailed, not once but twice, as a "real queen". Well, that is the case for admired actress Helen Mirren, whose portrayal of two different English monarchs this year have industry insiders wagging about an Oscar sweep.

Following her triumphant turn as Queen Elizabeth I in the HBO television mini-series ELIZABETH, a role for which she recently won an Emmy, Mirren can now be seen on the big screen as the current Queen Elizabeth II in the Stephen Frears-directed THE QUEEN, which opens the New York Film Festival this evening.

Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II

Mirren, a startling beauty who proves the contention that 60 is the new 40, transforms her glamorous self into the dowdy image of the current monarch in a reincarnation that is rather startling to behold. She perfect embodies the Queen's formal stiffness and straight-back body language, while also mining the depths of emotions that simmer beneath the surface.

With the film opening wide tomorrow via distributor Miramax Films, the buzz is that Ms. Mirren should leave room on the mantle for a twin award, one named Oscar. She has now emerged as the frontrunner in the race for Best Actress and Miramax (albeit sans the Brothers Weinstein) is touting the film as a major Oscar contender this year.

Helen Mirren As Elizabeth I

The actress has been in the Oscar race before, receiving nods for her supporting roles in THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE (1994) and Robert Altman's GOSFORD PARK (2001). She recently won the Volpi Cup as Best Actress for THE QUEEN at the Venice International Film Festival, where she received a fifteen minute standing ovation.

The acclaimed actress has won major awards for both her film and television work. She is a double winner at the Cannes Film Festival, specifically for her roles in CAL (1984) and THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE (1994). Television audiences know her for her role as Inspector Jane Tennyson in the various mini-series sequels of PRIME SUSPECT. Mirren has received Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globes for this signature role of the take-no-prisoners investigator in the criminal affairs unit of the London police force.

The New York Film Festivalwelcomes Her Royal Highness Helen Mirren as its special guest of honor at the gala screenings of THE QUEEN this evening at Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.


Sandy Mandelberger
Festivals Editor

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New York Film Festival
Online Dailies coverage of the 44th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL September 29 – October 15, 2006

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