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Olivia Colman’s queenly response to journalist who referred to her as an “older woman”

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Kayleigh Dray
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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 06: Olivia Colman attends the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

The Golden Globes winner is 100% a queen, through and through.

Olivia Colman had an incredible night at this year’s Golden Globes, with her incredible performance in The Favourite securing her the gong for best actress in a musical or comedy.

Thanking her fellow “bitches” Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone (as well as awards show organisers “for the sandwiches”), an overwhelmed Colman said: “I would like to tell you how much this film meant to me but I can’t think of it because I’m too excited.”

She added: “I went on a private jet and I ate constantly through the film and it was brilliant and I promise I will keep on enjoying this, because it’s amazing.”

Speech done, she then stepped backstage into the press room to answer some questions – and was promptly met with some good old fashioned Hollywood ageism. 

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As many readers will no doubt be aware, a recent US study analysed the age difference between on-screen couples in films from the past 30 years, and found that some leading men are up to 15 years older than their female love interests or co-stars.

Cue Amy Schumer’s iconic Last F**kable Day skit, which saw Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette gather to give the middle finger to the Hollywood patriarchy by celebrating Louis-Dreyfus’s so-called last f**kable day. As she explains, “In every actress’ life, the media decides when you finally reach the point when you’re not believably f**kable anymore.”

According to the sketch, the signs that an actress has reached this milestone include: movie posters forgoing images of you for just a photo of the kitchen, wardrobes that consist mostly of frumpy sweaters, and all of your films being remade with younger actresses.

Or, in the case of most Hollywood actresses, being told that you’re too old to play the love interest of your male co-star. That same male co-star who is either a) the same age as you, or b) several, or more than several, years your senior.

It seems that Colman, at 44 years old, apparently qualifies as one of these so-called “older women” – a fact which was made abundantly clear during her Q&A session at the Golden Globes.

One journalist kicked by saying: “If I’m correct, you started acting in television and film a bit later in your career…”

Colman, amused, cut in to say: “I’m not sure what ‘later’ means! How long do you have to be acting for it to be later?”

After waiting a beat for a response, Colman added: “I was in my 20s. I think that’s perfectly reasonable.”

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For the record, Colman’s first credited role on IMDB is from 2000’s Bruiser, in which she played multiple unnamed characters. By our calculations, this means she was 26 at the time. Which is more than bloody reasonable, to be honest.

Unable to read the mood of the room, though, some journalists persisted in pushing the age agenda on Colman.

“You’ve done an incredible job landing roles throughout your career,” they said. “I’m wondering your thoughts, generally, looking at the industry on screen, on roles for older women.”

“Older women!” echoed Colman, unable to hide her bemusement. 

As gracious and queenly as ever, though, she recovered quickly. “I’ve been lucky,” she said. “In the UK, I think I’ve always found work, and I feel very fortunate. And I don’t know why, but there are more and more parts being written. The older you get, the more you have to say. The more that’s happened.”

Well, quite. Fingers crossed Colman proves successful at this year’s Oscars, too: we imagine she will have a great deal more to say on the matter.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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