With so many of Britain's acting legends appearing in the Harry Potter films, it isn't easy for just one to stand out, but I think this summer's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will feature one performance that shines above the rest. Imelda Staunton, who plays the cruel new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Dolores Umbridge, seen in this new publicity photo hovering above Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, will be a definite center of attention -- and not just because her pink wardrobe sticks out amongst the mostly black costumes worn by her fellow cast members. There is a lot of hype regarding her appearance in the film, and I for one am hoping that she lives up to it. I've even thought about how wonderful it would be for the actress to be so good that she gets another Oscar nomination (what a nice surprise it would be for the Academy to recognize the consistently good acting of this popular franchise!).
Of course, it is probably better for the film as a whole if no actor or actress stands out. Also, according to what we heard from the first test screenings, it is Gary Oldman and newcomer Evanna Lynch who rise above the rest. Regardless, I am happy enough that Staunton is garnering a lot of attention for this role, especially after seeing how good she can be even in a simple supporting part in the fantastic family film Nanny McPhee. According to her statements to the new issue of Newsweek, she put a lot of "proper acting" into her Potter performance. While I doubt any awards will come from this movie, she will hopefully be praised enough that she finds it worth returning for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.