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Royal roles in Oscar history that were nominated for Academy Awards

Play a royal, win an Oscar!

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Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
February 25, 2019
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The royal family have always been fascinating, and so it's little wonder that dozens of films have been made about the firm over the years. From period dramas to movies based on the Queen herself, here are the amazing roles that have earned stars Oscar nominations over the years... 

READ: Oscar nominations 2019: See the full list of nominations here

Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Cate is one of the only actresses to be nominated for the same role twice! The actress portrayed Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth and its sequel ten years later, Elizabeth: The Golden Age. The Australian-born actress was born for the role of the Tudor Queen, and spoke about taking it on for a second time, telling Indie Wire: "There was never any hesitation, and when we began talking about it my questions concerned the story and the context because the character is infinitely fascinating – I think that goes without saying." Although Cate didn't win the Oscar for either nomination, she took home the award for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine.

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Helena Bonham Carter – The Queen Mother, The King's Speech

Helena was wonderful in her role as the Queen Mother in The King's Speech. In the film, Elizabeth is a straight talking yet kind woman who discovers the right speech therapist for her husband, who has a terrible stammer, and helps him to become a King when he never expected to be one. This was Helena's second nomination, after being nomination for The Wings of a Dove in 1998.

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Judi Dench – Queen Victoria, Mrs Brown

The 1997 film looks at Queen Victoria (played by Judi) and her relationship with her late husband's trusted servant, John Brown. Their close friendship was a point of concern in the royal household in the later years of Queen Victoria's life, which she spent largely in mourning for her beloved husband, Prince Albert. This film marked the first of Judi's seven Oscar nominations.


Helen Mirren – The Queen  

Helen won the Oscar for Best Actress after portraying Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, which looked after the aftermath of Princess Diana's tragic death, from the royal family's response to the news to the intense media scrutiny surrounding her passing. Helen went on to reprise her role in the stage adaptation of the film, The Audience, and earned a Tony award for Best Actress.  

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Kenneth Branagh – Henry V

Kenneth directed and starred in the critically acclaimed Shakespeare adaptation of Henry V, which is one of the only several films to have a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Although Kenneth was critically lauded for his portrayal of the once playboy prince turned king, he missed out on taking home the Oscar statuette. He has been nominated five times in total, and has still yet to win an Academy Award.

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Colin Firth – King George VI, The King's Speech

Colin wowed critics and audiences alike with his performance of King George VI, the reluctant King, with a debilitating stammer, who took the throne after his elder brother David abdicated in order to wed Wallis Simpson. Colin was a shoe-in for Best Actor, and took home his first Oscar for his incredible performance. In his acceptance speech, he said: "I have a feeling my career's just peaked. My deepest thanks to the Academy, I'm afraid I have to warn you I'm experiencing stirrings… that are threatening to form themselves into dance moves."

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Olivia Colman – Queen Anne, The Favourite

Olivia Colman has been nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of the sensitive, ailing Queen Anne, who ruled Britain from 1707 to 1714. While the film certainly took on some artistic license (for example, the Anne's sexual relationships with her two friends, Abigail and Sarah), there are some things that historically, Olivia got spot on. For starters, it was well documented that Anne struggled with ill health throughout her life, and she did tragically suffer from 17 miscarriages and stillbirths.

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Judi Dench – Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare in Love

Despite having less than eight minutes of screen time in Shakespeare in Love as an aging Queen Elizabeth I, Judi was nominated for, and won, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. In her acceptance speech, she said: "I feel for eight minutes on the screen I should only get a little bit of him. I do thank the Academy very much indeed... The terrible thing is that somebody has to win, and my heart goes out to the other four who didn't, and my admiration."

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