Life and Times: The Year in Mirren

For all of the cinephiles of the world, I’m sure it’s no secret that Dame Helen Mirren is an excellent actress. However, this year, she may have just done too much! In 2010, she will have done 6 movies! Six! That’s far more than any actress ever does. While I’m very excited for her gender bending turn as Prospera in “The Tempest,” she has a new action movie coming out next weekend called “Red.”

In “Red,” Mirren’s character teams up with a rag-tag gang of the rest of Hollywood’s aristocracy and fight crime. In honor of Mirren’s productive year, she wins the honor of being the first subject of my Life and Times section.

Born in 1945 as Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov (say that 10 times fast), she is currently the sexiest 65 year old. She started a career on the British stage, accumulating working with the Royal Shakespeare Company numerous times. I would kill to see her perform as Lady Macbeth. The reputation that followed Mirren from early on was that of a sultry, sexy, yet very good actress. Most people were taken aback by someone who was so comfortable with being sexual and could actually act. To this day she still is very comfortable in championing “naturalism” and frequents nude beaches. Good for her!

In this old interview, a young Helen Mirren challenges the quasi-chauvinistic interviewer with her cool confidence and her flirtatious manner. She is clearly an individual. I love that she confesses to getting a tattoo on an Indian Reservation when she was drunk on Brandy. She mentioned this on Conan too. She met her husband, director Taylor Hackford, on the set of “White Nights” and have been together ever since. She also starred in a several other successful films such as “The Madness of King George” and a very popular TV film series called “Prime Suspect” for which she was highly acclaimed.

In 2003, she was made a dame (damed?) by who ever gives out these things in the U.K. Her most famous performance, and my favorite, was given in 2006’s “The Queen” as Queen Elizabeth II. For this role, she won her Oscar and looked great doing it. And now here we are, in the year of Mirren.

Lets look at her impressive resumé, shall we?

4 Oscar nominations, 1 win.

10 BAFTA nominations, 4 wins.

2 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress wins (she is only one of 4 actresses ever to do this. She stands in the company of Vanessa Redgrave, Isabelle Hupert, and Barbara Hershey… wow.)

10 Emmy nominations, 4 wins.

10 Golden Globe nominations, 3 wins (she is also the only person ever to have 3 nominations in 1 year).

8 Screen Actor’s Guild nominations, 4 wins.

2 Tony nominations

This means that she has over 40 nominations and 18 major wins and is half-way to the hallowed EGOT (Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony). And she can do it, too!

Finally, let’s wrap this retrospective up with my master list of Dame Helen Mirren’s best films. I composited top 10 lists from IMDB, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and Flickchart, to get this ultimate top 10 list.

1. The Queen (2006)

2. Gosford Park (2001)

3. The Long Good Friday (1980)

4. State of Play (2009)

5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

6. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)

7. Excalibur (1981)

8. The Madness of King George (1994)

9. O Lucky Man! (1973)

10. Savage Messiah (1972)

Helen’s impressive filmography is only bolstered by the fact that everyone loves her. From what I’ve read, when she shows up at events, the crowd goes nuts, and now she gets nominated for things partly for being well-liked. This sexy dame is running into 2010, and I couldn’t be happier.

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