Judi Dench Wins Record 8th Olivier Award

Actress makes history as top winner of the U.K. equivalent of the Tonys

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Judi Dench won a record eighth Olivier Award on Sunday night. The celebrated film and theater actress won the honors in a star-studded ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House, as the Olivier Awards — the British equivalent of the Tony Awards — marked its 40th anniversary.

She won for her supporting role as Paulina in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s production of “The Winter’s Tale” at the Garrick Theatre. She’s now earned more Olivier Awards for acting than any other performer.

Another grande dame of British theater, Imelda Staunton, claimed the Olivier for Best Actress in a Musical for “Gypsy,” an acclaimed production that also won Best Musical Revival.

The award for Best Actor went to Kenneth Cranham for his performance in Theatre Royal Bath’s West End transfer of “The Father,” written by Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton. Best Actor was a hotly contested category with nominations for Branagh, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adrian Lester and Mark Rylance, the Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner for his performance in “Bridge of Spies.”

Denise Gough won Best Actress for her performance in “People, Places And Things,” a National Theatre co-production now playing at Wyndham’s Theatre.

“Kinky Boots” won three Oliviers: Matt Henry won for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Lola, and Gregg Barnes won for Best Costume Design. The Cyndi Lauper musical also won the highly-prized MasterCard Best New Musical.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was named Best Revival and Mark Gatiss won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Three Days In The Country.”

The full winners’ list is available at the Olivier Awards web site.