Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman & Emma Stone at the London premiere of The Favourite Photo Credit: James Gilham © Stillmoving LTD
Lesbian romp The Favourite has received 12 nominations at this year’s British Academy Film Awards, beating Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Roma and A Star Is Born, which each received seven BAFTA nods. Nominations for The Favourite include best film, best direction, best actress, best supporting actress (for both Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz), best original screenplay and best costume.
Yorgos Lanthimos directed the period comedy, which is set in the court of Queen Anne - played by Olivia Colman, who just won a Golden Globe for the role - during the 1700s. Rachel Weisz co-stars as the Queen’s friend and secret lover, Lady Sarah Churchill, the Duchess Of Marlborough, and Emma Stone is Sarah’s cousin Abigail, who arrives at court prepared to do anything to win the Queen’s favour.
Olivia Colman with her Golden Globe Award for Best Actress In A Musical Or Comedy Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss
The story is loosely based on the real-life love affair between Queen Anne and her childhood friend Lady Sarah Churchill.
Their relationship was “deeply thought to be true,” said Colman at a Telluride Film Festival Q & A for the film. “There were whispers in court about the Queen’s closeness with Sarah. The letters between them were very sensual. You couldn’t read them any other way.”
Only released in cinemas in late December, The Favourite has become both a critical and commercial success, showing that audiences want to see strong female characters on screen.
“It’s changing slowly,” said Colman of the lack of strong, complex female characters and female-centric movie scripts. But surely when people realize half the world is women, and women want to see stories about women, you can’t pretend that half the population isn’t female. A script like that is joyous and brilliant and fun to play!”
“All films should be like this,” said Rachel Weisz. “They should have three women who are the good, the bad, and the ugly. The others have so many men. Let’s get people to write more things where women drive the story, the protagonists drive the story and get to be anything — whether cruel, vulnerable, kind, sadistic, powerful or manipulative, like we are in real life.”
The Favourite co-stars Rachel Weisz & Nicholas Hoult at the Golden Globes Fox Party Photo by Scott Kirkland/Fox/PictureGroup 2019 FOX
The stars said they enjoyed playing opposite women instead of men for the intimate scenes. Asked about the movie's sexual politics, Colman said “Well there was lots of it (sex) and that’s good and that was timeless I suppose. That will always happen. It’s as though we think we invented sex but we didn’t. It’s been going on for quite a long time and it was awfully fun having sex with Emma Stone.”
“It was really fun having sex with you too,” Stone responded.
Emma Stone at the London Festival Premiere of The Favourite Photo Credit: Photo Credit: James Gilham © Stillmoving LTD
On the New Year’s Eve episode of The Graham Norton Show, 44 year old Colman talked about a prank she pulled when filming one of the sex scenes.
“Emma Stone was worried about me though because she had to touch me intimately under the sheets.”
“So, I put a big wet sponge there as a barrier. She was going up my leg and her face was a picture when she reached it!”
The Favourite is in cinemas now in The UK, Australia and USA. It opens around Europe in late January.