British actor Rory Kinnear has been awarded the 2014 Best Actor Olivier Award for his exceptional performance as Iago in Nicholas Hytner’s critically acclaimed production of Othello.
Playing on the National Theatre’s Olivier stage opposite Adrian Lester in the title role, Kinnear wowed critics with his original and striking portrayal of the manipulative soldier; creating a everyman feel to the character that made his acts of treachery all the more shocking.
In his glowing review of the production, The Guardian’s Michael Billington described Kinnear’s astute choices as creating “an Iago marinated in scorn, a man whose bluff is to bluff”, adding: “He is an actor who never seems to be expressing himself. He builds character by making every gesture look as if it were a habit… He is like a master technician rewinding the mechanism of a clock, tweaking a string, running a finger along a cog.”
Kinnear, who tonight triumphed over fellow Best Actor nominees Henry Goodman, Tom Hiddleston and Jude Law, is now the proud recipient of two Olivier Awards, both for performances under Hytner’s direction at the National Theatre. His first win came in 2008 for The Man Of Mode in the Best Performance in a Supporting Role category.
Kinnear said he was “surprised, shocked and delighted” on receiving the award, especially as it’s come at a busy period in his life. “We had a baby three weeks ago. It’s a bit of the sublime to the ridiculous really.”
Tonight’s win comes as part of a hugely successful year for the stage and screen actor, following a joint Evening Standard Theatre Award win with Adrian Lester and two wins at the Critics Circle Awards, one for his performance in Othello and the other for his debut play, The Herd.