• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2022: Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter”

When British stage, film and TV actress Olivia Colman won her first Golden Globe in 2017 for the mini-series The Night Manager, she was conspicuously absent from the Beverly Hilton. In fact, she could be found on another stage more than five and a half thousand miles away. “I couldn’t come because I was in a play in London and there is no such thing as getting two days off to fly to Hollywood,” she laughs.
Born Sarah Caroline Olivia Colman in Norwich, Norfolk, her mother was a nurse and her father, a chartered surveyor. “I did my first school play when I was 16. I didn’t know I could be an actor because my family didn’t do that, and I assumed maybe you could only be an actor if your parents were actors, or you came from that world. But then I found my tribe, found my people, and realized I found what I wanted to do. And then it was a matter of just plugging away at it.”
She studied teaching before going on to study drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. This married mother of three began her career in theater and only became a household name at an age when typical Hollywood actresses begin worrying about roles drying up. At age 40, she broke through with the internationally acclaimed crime series Broadchurch in which she played a worn-out detective trying to solve a major crime in a small town, not realizing how close to her family the tragedy would strike.
Two years later, while still filming the third season (out of four) of Broadchurch, she convinced director Susanne Bier to hire her for The Night Manager despite being pregnant with her daughter. She cited Frances McDormand’s brilliant performance in Fargo as an example. Both women were eight months pregnant when they wrapped their respective projects.
Five years later, and a string of awards for performances in such films as The Favourite, and The Father, and on the small screen for her role as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown, she took on the starring in The Lost Daughter. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut is a psychological drama in which Colman plays an academic, Leda Caruso, on vacation on a Greek island. Through her experiences meeting and observing fellow vacationers, it triggers painful memories of motherhood and the choices she made. 
“I was terribly excited about playing someone I hadn’t played before. I’d read a lot of scripts over the years and some you know you want to do immediately. The litmus test is when your agent says, ‘Well, imagine someone else playing that role? How would you feel?’ and it made me realize, ‘Oh no,’” she recalls, shaking her head, sitting on stage at a Q & A event after the film was screened. “That script was one of those.”
Looking back on her teenage years when she decided to pursue acting, her parents were understandably concerned. Now at age 47, she says of her chosen vocation after pivoting from her original career path as a teacher, “Yes. I think my mum would have liked me to do a sensible job. At the time, they said, ‘I suppose you’ll give it a year,’ but I said, ‘No, I’m going to give it 10 or 20 years. Acting is all I can do. I’m so rubbish at everything else, and I wouldn’t have made a great teacher.’” She smiles. “I think they’re all right with it now.”