Maggie Smith grabs BAFTA nomination for ‘Downton Abbey’


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‘Downton Abbey’ may be a phenomenon in the U.S., but that doesn’t necessarily translate into awards back in its native Britain. The series, currently shooting its third season, picked up just one British Academy of Film and Television Arts nomination on Tuesday, but it’s one that counts: Maggie Smith, who plays the dowager countess, was nominated for supporting actress.

It’s Smith’s fourth BAFTA TV nomination, but she’s never won. (She has won five BAFTAs for her film work, however). The fact that she’s the only member of the cast to get a nomination underlines something ‘Masterpiece’ executive producer Rebecca Eaton told PBS supporters in Florida earlier this month (as reported by the Orlando Sentinel): ‘Maggie Smith is a handful, it’s true. She’s very difficult. She knows her worth, and she’s tricky on the set, but she delivers when the time comes.’


The question of whether Smith will continue with ‘Abbey’ has been on the minds of the show’s fans, who continually hear reports that Smith may or may not be departing. Carnival Film and Television, which co-produces the series, has said there’s ‘no truth’ to reports that the actress is leaving during the show’s third season.

Even though the awards were for British shows, one American series did land a nomination. ABC’s ‘Modern Family’ was nominated for international series, alongside ‘The Killing II’ (the original Danish series, not the AMC remake), ‘Borgen,’ another Danish series, and ‘The Slap’ from Australia.

Several members of the ‘Sherlock’ cast, which also aired on PBS, were nominated, including Benedict Cumberbatch for leading actor and Andrew Scott and Martin Freeman for supporting actor.

The awards will be handed out Sunday, May 27. The complete list of BAFTA TV nominees is available here.


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— Patrick Kevin Day