Born to act or schooled to perform? Here is where some of Britain’s Oscar-winners spent their theatrical, formative years.
Celebrating their achievements is just as important as highlighting the value of an independent education when it comes to industries such as drama. An analysis of the educational backgrounds of some of Britain’s finest actors and actresses, the Sutton Trust revealed that your chances of winning an Oscar are higher if you are independently educated, with 67 per cent of British winners in the best leading actor, actress and director categories having attended fee-paying schools. In fact, just seven per cent of British Oscar winners were state educated, with the rest attending grammar schools.
Sir Peter Lamp, chairman of the Sutton Trust, commented on the results of their research, entitled Leading People (2016): ‘Our research shows that your chances of reaching the top in so many areas of British life are very much greater if you went to an independent school.’
As well as academic achievement, an independent education tends to develop essential skills such as confidence, articulacy and team work which are vital to career success.Sir Peter Lamp, chairman of the Sutton Trust
Olivia Colman from Gresham’s School
After being awarded Best Actress (musical/comedy) for her moving performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards in January, Colman was then nominated and won the Best Actress Oscar for the same film.
Daniel Day-Lewis from Sevenoaks School & Bedales
Daniel Day-Lewis has won many major acting awards include three Oscars for My Left Foot, There Will be Blood and Lincoln and six nominations. After attending Invicta and Sherington Primary Schools in Greenwich, Day-Lewis boarded at Sevenoaks School in Kent and was later transferred to Bedales in Petersfield, Hampshire, where his sister was already a student.
Jeremy Irons from Sherborne School
Born on the Isle of White, Jeremy Irons was later educated at Sherborne School in Dorset from 1962 to 1966. There he was the drummer and harmonica player in a four-man school band called the Four Pillars of Wisdom. In 1990, Irons portrayed accused attempted murderer Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune and won multiple awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Judi Dench from The Mount School
Out of seven nominations, Judi Dench has won just one Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. Although it was not the briefest to ever win an Academy Award – that record is still held by Beatrice Straight at six minutes for 1976’s Network – it was still impressively short. She attended The Mount School in York, a Quaker independent school.
Eddie Redmayne from Eton College
In 2015 Redmayne won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at the Oscars for his delicate yet powerful performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. A year later he was nominated again for The Danish Girl, though he did not win.