Olivier triumph for Rachel Weisz
Published 22/03/2010 | 11:06
Rachel Weisz and Dame Maggie Smith have scooped two standout Laurence Olivier prizes at the glitzy theatre awards ceremony.
Oscar-winner Weisz was named best actress for her stage role as fading southern belle Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Dame Maggie, who has never won a best actress Olivier, was given a standing ovation as she was handed a special award marking her outstanding contribution to the theatre.
Also at Sunday night`s ceremony, Mark Rylance triumphed over Jude Law, James McAvoy and Darth Vader actor James Earl Jones to be named best actor for his turn as caravan-dwelling anti-hero Johnny "Rooster" Byron in Jerusalem.
Rupert Goold was named best director, his second Olivier, for Enron, Lucy Prebble's celebrated epic play inspired by one of the most infamous scandals in financial history.
Weisz, who like Rylance has won rave reviews and a string of gongs, fought off stiff competition at the prestigious ceremony from Gillian Anderson, Imelda Staunton and Juliet Stevenson.
Clutching her award, Weisz, wearing an off-the-shoulder dress, told the audience: "What a tremendous honour... It means an awful lot. I never thought I would be holding one of these in my lifetime. I'm in such prestigious company.
"To get one of these, as my father would say, the wrapping paper alone would have been enough."
Veteran actress Dame Maggie said: "I've been around for some time... I really am pleased to have this."
Scrutinising the award statuette, she added: "He still looks cross. He did not always look like that."