11:47am PT by Scott Feinberg
'Marigold' Non-Campaigner Maggie Smith Subject of New Searchlight Featurette (Exclusive Video)
The Hollywood Reporter is pleased to offer an exclusive first-look at Fox Searchlight's new, roughly minute-long featurette highlighting the performance of best supporting actress Oscar hopeful Dame Maggie Smith in its best picture Oscar hopeful The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. In the film, Smith plays a bitter and bigoted retired housekeeper who winds up living at a retirement "hotel" in India, but -- spoiler alert -- ultimately reveals that she has, buried beneath that tough exterior, a heart of gold.
In the short clip, the revered 77-year-old veteran British thespian -- a six-time Oscar nominee who won a best actress Oscar for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and a best supporting actress Oscar for California Suite (1978) -- is celebrated by Marigold's screenwriter Ol Parker ("It was a tremendous privilege to write for Maggie Smith, who has a salty way with words in life and on screen") and director John Madden ("She has such incredible depth of instinct... The emotional range of her character is one of its chief pleasures").
Smith, who is perhaps best known today for her portrayal of the acerbic Dowager Countess on PBS' Downton Abbey (for which she has won back-to-back best supporting actress Emmys), has shown virtually no willingness to do the usual promotion and glad-handing that goes with most awards campaigns these days (for either this film or the other in which she stars this year, Dustin Hoffman's Quartet), so this video tribute to her will serve as the next best way of reminding voters about her memorable work.