Judy Dench sets record for most Olivier awards

Image of the Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of Broadway's Tony Award, are being presented Sunday in London at Covent Hall.
The Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Award.

Judi Dench, who since 1998 has received 7 Oscar nominations — the most earned after age 60 by any performed — last night took home her eighth Olivier Award, more than any other actor has ever collected.

Dench won for best supporting actress for her performance in “The Winter’s Tale,” produced by the Kenneth Branagh Theater Company,  a troupe he spent around two years putting together.

Imelda Staunton won for lead actress in a musical for the great role of Momma Rose in “Gypsy.”

Judy Dench and kenneth Brannaugh in a scene from "The Winter's Tale."As she collected her award she joked that she was “livid” because she had lost a bet with her grandson. Dench told the BBC backstage that “I’m rather overcome. I didn’t expect it… it feels terrific.” She also praised the “really fantastic company and crew and stage management” of the Shakespeare production at the Garrick Theatre.

She added the award was “lovely to have, but in actual fact it belongs to all those people just as much as it belongs to me.”

“Hangmen” by Martin McDonagh, about a hangman facing the final days of capital punishment in England, won the award for best new play. (It is, indeed, superb. It’s funny and scary and I didn’t realize it was turning into a murder mystery until I was halfway through it. I saw it here in the States as part of the National Theatre Live broadcasts earlier this year. Click here to find locations showing encore performances of “Hangman.”

“Kinky Boots,” a musical featuring music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, which won the 2013 Tony Award for best musical, won the best new musical Olivier.

“Gypsy” won the award for best musical revival, and a production of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” now running at the National Theater took the award for best revival of a play.

Other winners included the actress Denise Gough, for her portrayal of a recovering drug addict in the new play “People, Places and Things.” Kenneth Cranham won the award for best actor in a play for Florian Zeller’s “The Father.” (A new production of that work starring Frank Langella is now in previews on Broadway.) Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical “In the Heights,” which took the top Tony on Broadway in 2008, won three Oliviers — for music, for choreography and for David Bedella’s supporting performance.