beaux stratagem

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Even though I couldn’t be on hand to accept my Oscar when I won it (for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), I visualised it afterwards, so riding up to the Music Center and seeing the crowds, the excitement was a little like a replay for me. The flashbulbs and the fanfare were incredible. Bleachers full of people, and Michael and I trying to look terribly cool in our Rolls Royce. I will never forget it, just as I’ll always remember the night I won the first award. I was appearing in London in a play called The Beaux Stratagem and wasn’t feeling at all well. When I finally got to sleep, the phone awakened me at six in the morning with the wonderful news about the Oscar. I had an instant cure.

- Maggie Smith, winner of the 1979 Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar for California Suite, on filming part of the movie at the Academy Awards the previous year.

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“There was Maggie Smith – seen one moment on film rolling a wine glass across her forehead as the affectedly sexy Myra in Coward’s Hay Fever, the next moment present in the flesh to deliver a speech from Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem with unadorned simplicity. And to see Judi Dench moving from Shakespeare’s Cleopatra to Sondheim’s Desiree in A Little Night Music was to receive an object lesson in the power of physical stillness and flawless articulation.” (National theatre’s 50th birthday gala)