For as long as is relevant, the most memorable portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I had ever seen was Scott Thompson's. And who could ever deny his exquisite commitment to the part?
But tonight, I'm crowning Helen Mirren as the QE to end all QEs for her work in The Queen. Mirren is the frontrunner for the next Best Actress Oscar, and now I can see why. Playing someone known to the public as perhaps the definition of wooden, Mirren brings it all: pride, stubborness, confusion, humanity and heartbreak. Like the best performers, she absolutely loses herself in the part. It's a performance so strong, I truly expect it will affect the legacy of the Queen and the monarchy for years to come.
The film itself is worthy of a Best Picture nomination, so sophisticated is it in analyzing and humanizing a subject that has practically been tabloid fodder, the death of Princess Diana and its aftermath. It moves into my top five for 2006, with The Last King of Scotland, United 93, Little Children and Little Miss Sunshine.
Though perfectly executed, and despite telling a story that was both personal and global, I don't think The Queen is as important a film as Last King, United and Little Children, so I'm putting it fourth for now. But I have no reservations about recommending it.