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Wednesday, 2 January, 2002, 16:42 GMT
Dame Judi tipped for Oscar
Dame Judi Dench found it tough working on the film
Broadbent and Dame Judi play the couple in later life
US film critics are tipping Dame Judi Dench to win an Oscar for her portrayal of Iris Murdoch in the adaptation of the author's life.

Dame Judi will "surely" win the best actress Academy Award, respected Hollywood columnist Liz Smith is quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.

So far there has been no clear frontrunner for March's Oscars, but Iris is emerging as a possible candidate.

Dame Iris Murdoch led an extraordinary life
Dame Iris Murdoch led an extraordinary life
Richard Eyre's film opened in the US in December and will be released in the UK on 18 January.

It tells the life story of the late Dame Iris Murdoch and is based on her husband John Bayley's memoirs, Iris: A Memoir and Elegy For Iris.

Murdoch, a writer and philosopher died in 1999 and suffered with Alzheimer's disease towards the end of her life.

'Hard work'

Dame Judi portrays Murdoch in later life while Kate Winslet depicts her earlier years.

Both have been nominated for Golden Globes, Dame Judi for best actress and Winslet for best supporting actress.

Jim Broadbent, who plays the older John Bayley is nominated for best supporting actor.

Dame Judi admitted filming Iris was not easy, especially as shooting followed closely on from the death of her husband Michael Williams.

After she completed the film she said: "It's been hard work, the hardest work I've ever done."

Kate Winslet is winning plaudits for her role
Kate Winslet plays the younger Iris
If Dame Judi won an Academy Award for Iris, it would be her second recent Oscar success.

She won the best supporting actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1999 and has twice been nominated for best actress for Mrs Brown and best supporting actress for Chocolat.

'Incomparably compelling'

Such is the frequency of Dame Judi's involvement in the Oscars that the New York Times said tipping her for an award had become a "popular culture" event.

USA Today wrote: "As the elderly writers, Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent give incomparably compelling performances. (Note: Oscar is watching.)"

The New York Daily News also believes an Academy nod could be coming Dame Judi's way, noting she is in "full Oscar-worthy throttle".

But not everyone has been impressed with Iris. Variety said: "A triumph on the casting side but less so dramatically, Richard Eyre's Iris fails to do full justice to its subject."

The Academy Award nominations will be announced on 12 February.

See also:

30 Nov 01 | Film
One great Dame plays another
01 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Murdoch bio-pic moves to Paramount
18 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Villagers and friends remember Williams
09 Dec 01 | Arts
Dame Judi's illustrious career
23 Mar 99 | The Oscars 1999
UK applauds Oscars success
15 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Actor Michael Williams dies
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