Oscar Directors: Frears, Stephen–The Queen

Stephen Frears is the director of “Tamara Drewe,” starring Gemma Arterton, an adaptation of the famous Tamara Drewe character as well as graphic novel.

Most recently he worked with Michele Pfeiffer in Chéri, based on the French novel by Colette.
He collaborated with Helen Mirren on his award winning film The Queen, for which Helen received the Academy’s Best Actress Award and Stephen was nominated for numerous directing awards around the world, including an Academy Award, BAFTA 24 and Golden Globe. The film also became a box office hit after its launch at the Venice International Film Festival.
Frears began his career at London’s Royal Court Theatre, where he worked with director Lindsay Anderson, and moved into the film industry in 1966 as an assistant director to Karel Reisz. In 1971 he made his directorial debut with Gumshoe, a wry homage to film noir starring Albert Finney. After several acclaimed television productions and the cult feature film The Hit, which starred John Hurt and Tim Roth, his breakthrough came in 1985 with My Beautiful Laundrette which launched the careers of Daniel Day-Lewis and writer Hanif Kureishi (who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay). Stephen and Hanif Kureishi reteamed on Sammy and Rosie Get Laid in 1987.
Stephen went on to direct Prick Up Your Ears, about English playwright Joe Orton, starring Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina, and then Dangerous Liaisons written by Christopher Hampton and starring Michelle Pfeiffer, John Malkovich and Glenn Close. An adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’ caustic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the film triumphed at the Academy Awards in 1989 winning Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award, Best Costumes and Best Art Direction, as well as nominations for Best Actress for Close, Best Supporting Actress for Pfeiffer, Best Picture and Best Music.
Stephen was again nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director the following year for The Grifters (1990) which starred John Cusack, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening. He then made Hero, starring Dustin Hoffman and Geena Davis, Mary Reilly starring Julia Roberts and John Malkovich, and two low-budget adaptations of novels by Roddy Doyle, The Snapper and The Van. Then came The Hi-Lo Country, starring Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup, Penélope Cruz and Patricia Arquette, and the acclaimed High Fidelity, based on Nick Hornby’s popular novel and starring John Cusack, Jack Black and Iben Hjejle.
He returned to the small screen in 2000 with Fail Safe starring George Clooney and Harvey Keitel, and directed Liam in the same year. In 2002, his drama-thriller Dirty Pretty Things earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The political drama The Deal which Frears made for Channel 4 in 2003 paved the way for The Queen, and he followed that in 2005 with the historical drama Mrs Henderson Presents which starred Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins.