Maggie Smith Wheels Up for Awards Glory in ‘The Lady in the Van’ Trailer (Video)

“Downton Abbey” star plays real-life homeless woman in Oscar-bait movie

Maggie Smith sinks her choppers into a showy new role as a transient British woman in the fact-based “The Lady in the Van.”

In the new trailer for director Nicholas Hytner‘s new drama, Smith is seen interacting with neighbors on a quiet residential street — splashing paint on her van, chasing away music-playing youth and generally acting more cantankerous than the Dowager Countess she plays on “Downton Abbey.”

Sony Pictures Classics is planning an Oscar-qualifying run in New York and L.A. on Dec. 4, with a limited release to follow on Jan. 15.

The film, which also stars Dominic Cooper, James Corden and Jim Broadbent, screened at last month’s Toronto Film Festival.

The script is based on Alan Bennett‘s play, which earned Smith an Olivier Award in 2000 for playing the title role.

Smith is a two-time Oscar winner, for 1969’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and 1978’s “California Suite.” She has four other nominations, most recently for her supporting role in 2001’s “Gosford Park.”

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