Olivia Colman went from a cleaner to this year's Oscar-winning best actress. Here's what you should know about the star.

ABC/Craig SjodinOlivia Colman accepted an award at this year’s Oscars.
  • Olivia Colman won best actress at the 2019 Oscars for her role in “The Favourite.”
  • The Favourite” is Colman’s second collaboration with director Yorgos Lanthimos.
  • She’s known for both strong comedic and dramatic chops in everything from “Peep Show” to “Broadchurch.”
  • Colman will be portraying Queen Elizabeth II in seasons three and four of Netflix’s “The Crown.”

At the 2019 Oscars, first-time nominee Olivia Colman won the award for best actress for her starring role as Queen Anne in “The Favourite.” She appeared to be taken by surprise, but went on to give an endearing acceptance speech that Harper’s Bazaar called “the greatest Oscar speech of all time.”

Here are 10 things you might not know about the award-winning actress.


Her first name isn’t Olivia.

Dave J Hogan / ContributorShe may go by Olivia, but that’s not her first name.

“The Favourite” star’s real name isn’t Olivia. It’s actually Sarah. Her entire name is Sarah Caroline Olivia Colman.


Colman didn’t always want to be an actress.

Vera Anderson / ContributorColman considered becoming a teacher.

Before becoming the award-winning actress she is today, Colman trained to be a primary school teacher in Cambridge.

She told the Hollywood Reporter, “I left the college, but stayed in the town and just cycled around. I worked as a cleaner, went to other people’s lectures and did loads of plays. And that’s when I realised I didn’t want to be anything other than an actor.”


“The Favourite” is Colman’s second collaboration with director Yorgos Lanthimos and co-star Rachel Weisz. Her first was “The Lobster.”

Element PicturesOlivia Colman stars in ‘The Favourite’ alongside Rachel Weisz.

Colman worked alongside Weisz under the direction of Lanthimos once before “The Favourite.”

In the dystopian independent comedy “The Lobster,” Colman played a hotel manager. The film was directed by Lanthimos and costarred Weisz.

Having worked with Colman on “The Lobster,” Lanthimos knew he wanted her for the role of Queen Anne in “The Favourite.” In fact, in an interview with Deadline, Lanthimos said that he wouldn’t have made “The Favourite” without her, because he just couldn’t picture anyone else in the leading role.


Rather than use prosthetics, Colman gained significant weight for the role of Queen Anne.

Fox Searchlight PicturesColman gained 35 pounds to play Queen Anne.

According to the Telegraph, Colman gained approximately two and a half stone – that’s 35 pounds – to play Queen Anne. She joked to the outlet that “there was no technique, just triple portions.” Losing the weight afterward was more of a challenge, so she worked with a personal trainer.


Fans of British comedy might know Colman as Sophie Chapman from “Peep Show.”

Channel 4Colman used to star on ‘Peep Show.’

Comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb created the British comedy series, “Peep Show,” which starred Colman.

The actress also appeared in “That Mitchell and Webb Look,” another comedy series by Mitchell and Webb.

The comedians were also among the first to congratulate Colman on her Oscars win on Twitter.


Some fans might recognise her from the series “Broadchurch.”

BBC/Broadchurch screenshotColman starred alongside David Tennant in ‘Broadchurch.’

Colman starred as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller alongside former and future “Doctor Who” stars David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker in this crime drama series that is streaming on both Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Other notable dramatic roles from Colman include the role of Hannah in the film “Tyrannosaur” and Angela Burr in the TV series “The Night Manager,” which also starred Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, and Elizabeth Debicki.


Her coworkers have plenty of good things to say about the star.

Stuart C. Wilson / StringerRachel Weisz, Yorgos Lanthimos and Olivia Colman attend ‘The Favourite’ – London Q&A at Twentieth Century Fox on February 12, 2019 in London, England.

It seems Colman gets along well with her co-stars.

Rachel Weisz told Harper’s Bazaar of the actress, “Olivia is just gorgeous and lovely.”

Lanthimos told Deadline of his relationship with Colman, “… we’re friends and collaborators and I would be happy to work together again.”

Further, when Colman won the best actress academy award for her role in “The Favourite,” her co-star Emma Stone was visibly thrilled – Stone broke down in tears and gave Colman a kiss on the cheek.


Olivia Colman will be bringing a second British monarch to screens everywhere very soon.

Max Mumby/Indigo / ContributorColman will play Queen Elizabeth the Second.

As Queen Elizabeth II in the third and fourth seasons of Netflix’s “The Crown,”Colman will take over from Claire Foy, and will be accompanied by Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, and Ben Daniels as Lord Snowdon.

Season three of “The Crown” is due to premiere on Netflix sometime in 2019.


Her dog is called Alfred, Lord Waggyson.

Yui Mok – PA Images / ContributorColman got creative when it came to naming her dog.

On David Tennant’s new podcast, “David Tennant Does A Podcast With…” the actress revealed that her dog’s name is Alfred, Lord Waggyson.

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