Have you been to see The Favourite yet? Director Yorgos Lanthimos's terrifically perverse tragicomedy renders the 18th century court of Queen Anne as a surrealistic onslaught of in-fighting, lobster racing and wanton manipulation. Rising on the strength of the fabulous central trio of Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, it's a costume drama that refuses to play by the rules.
Of the three powerhouse performers, it's Colman who's being Oscar tipped for her memorable take on Anne, initially something of an oafish, childish presence who steadily reveals the tragedy that has "stalked" her life. We've rounded up six memorable scenes that are sure to get her the Oscar when the Academy Awards roll around on 24th February.
SPOILERS AHEAD: PROCEED IF YOU'VE SEEN THE FAVOURITE, OR COME BACK LATER WHEN YOU HAVE
1. "Look at me!"
One of the most heavily trailed clips introduces the pivotal dynamic between the gout-ridden Queen Anne and her manipulative confidante (and lover) Sarah Churchill (Weisz). The latter has the monarch's ear, manipulating her so that the war against the French may continue and bolster Churchill's husband's standing.
Even so, that's all white noise when placed next to the fabulously spiky interplay between the two women. After a chastened Anne is told by Sarah that her makeup resembles that of a badger, the crestfallen ruler takes her anger out on a waiting pageboy – a magnificent bit of comic timing that reminds us of Colman's roots in the likes of Peep Show and Green Wing.
2. Anne's rabbits
Hilarious though The Favourite is, the dark heart of the story (scripted by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara) is brimming with tragedy and sadness.
In a performance that masterfully mixes up the comedic with the grotesque and the empathetic, her Anne reveals why she keeps 17 pet bunny rabbits in her chambers. It turns out each of the animals represents the children that she has lost over the years – provoking tears when we least expect it.
3. Anne and the baby
Having raged at a classical music ensemble in front of insidious new court favourite Abigail (Stone), Anne takes to her gout-ridden legs in a fit of anger and rampages through her palace.
Consumed by her feelings of bereavement and inability to govern, she desperately clutches a baby from the arms of a passing servant. It's the kind of shocking moment in which we don't know whether to laugh or cry. The fact we end up doing both indicates the genius of Colman's performance.
4. Anne watches Sarah dance
Midway through The Favourite, a gleefully anachronistic scene sees Sarah and Masham (Joe Alwyn) indulge in a spot of breakdancing. It encapsulates the eccentric spirit of Lanthimos's movie, but again the show is stolen by Colman.
As the immobilised Anne watches from the sidelines in a wheelchair, we witness a host of different emotions cross her face in a matter of seconds – joy at Sarah's liberation, sadness that she herself cannot take part and finally rage that she has been physically confined to this ineffectual position. If Colman has a defining Oscar moment in the film, this is it.
5. Anne collapses in court
To continue the war with the French, or to not continue the war with the French – what is a queen to do? In another masterful example of deft comic timing, Colman shows us Anne blindly seeking Sarah's help in court as the assorted Whigs and Tories look on, before she takes the easy way out and feigns fainting.
It's hilariously funny while also deepening our understanding of the character as a petulant ruler who is out of her depth, a brilliant mixture of comedy and drama in one.
6. Anne and Abigail
The film's sense of melancholy intensifies in the final stages as the increasingly immobilised Anne finds herself unable to speak, even while becoming increasingly lucid as to how to run the country.
Colman's brilliantly complex and layered performance cuts through the film's innuendo and bawdy humour, reinforcing the tragedy of a UK ruler both empowered and isolated by her position, who is ultimately once again struck down by tragedy. It's a terrific turn that acts as the beating heart of Lanthimos's story, and more proof that Colman deserves her chance in the Oscar spotlight.