Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Birthday Girl: Maggie Smith

In honor of Dame Maggie Smith's 77th Birthday I was going to peruse her IMDb credits and then list my top 7 characters she's ever played. In an odd bit of coincidence, however, I discovered I've seen her play only 7 characters (not including her voice work in this year's Gnomeo & Juliet) in her long and great career. This, of course, speaks more about me and my lack of initiative to see anything she has done before the 90s including her two Oscar-winning performances California Suite and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, but I still found it a bit humorous.

In any case, in chronological order they are...

Granny Wendy in Hook - I'm pretty sure this wasn't the first film I saw her in, but even if it was it's such a small cameo that I wouldn't have registered her at all.

Mother Superior in Sister Act - This movie/series was for some reason a big part of my youth perhaps since I went to Catholic school, but her character's evolution is obviously my favorite. She reprises the role in the possibly more entertaining sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit a year later. Too bad we never got to see her sing in the films though.

Mrs. Medlock in The Secret Garden - I remember totally hating her in this film (which also happens to be one of my favorite films of all time) when I was younger. Of course I couldn't see that she was just trying to do what she thought was best and her love/loyalty to the family was unquestionable.

Constance Trentham in Gosford Park - For one of my favorite films ever, I have an awful memory when it comes to individual characters so I can't quite comment on Smith's Contance at the moment, but again I loved the film and it's the only Oscar-nominated role of hers I've seen.

Mastery of the "Bitch, Please" Face

Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - And with this role she was introduced to a whole new generation of fans who only grew to love her as the character she played continued to grow in the books and in the films. She appears in every film of the series with the exception of the second to last film, but she probably made her biggest impact in this year's finale.

Lady Gresham in Becoming Jane - Not much new in this role playing a very rich British aristocrat, as she does, but it's Maggie Smith. Hathaway and McAvoy should just be glad they were on a film with her!

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey - She recently won an Emmy Award for this role as she should as she takes a lifetime of playing upper crust British dames and stern-faced sharp-tongued ladies and shows it all off on this scene-stealing character.

So that's my own complete history with Maggie Smith's filmography. I know she'll continue to be awesome in Downton Abbey for as long as that show is made, but with nearly a decade since her last Oscar nomination, I'm itching for her to be in the conversation again. She does have a film coming out soon and she's filming another one, but whether or not they will garner her Oscar attention is tough to tell. At this point of her career and life though, the Oscars is probably the last thing on her mind especially with her recent bout with cancer.

And hell, on her 77th birthday "Happy BAMFday Maggie Smith" trended on twitter. She clearly really has nothing left to prove.

1 comment:

  1. Agree with all of this, especially The Secret Garden. BAMF indeed!


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