Oscar Impact: Dench, Judi

Judi Dench is still in awe of her meteoric rise to stardom. Although the industry is overrun nowadays by hot young up-and-comers, Hollywood has “discovered” Dench while in her sixties. In 1997, Dench became a certified film star with her Oscarnominated performance as Queen Victoria in “Mrs. Brown,” for which she had earlier won the Golden Globe.

The next year she played another queen, Elizabeth, in “Shakespeare in Love,” and won the Supporting Actress Oscar. Dench followed with a Tony for “Amy's View,” her first Broadway play in forty years, though she has been a staple of the London stage.

Dench was on screen for about eight minutes in “Shakespeare in Love,” yet she was unforgettable. She fondly recalled: “I just played her like I imagined she would be. She was a fierce woman. People didn't like messing with her. I was in all those clothes and I couldn't do much but stay very still and pray I didn't have to go to the loo in the middle.

Two years later, in 2000, Judi Dench was nominated for a supporting turn in “Chocolat,” which was followed by a lead nomination for the biopicture “Iris,” in which she played the Alzheimer-afflicted British writer, Iris Murdock.

Since 2001, Dench has been nominated for two more Oscars, both in the lead category, for “Mrs. Henderson Presents” in 2005, and for “Notes on a Scandal” in 2006.

In nine years, Dame Judi has been nominated for six Oscars!