(1998)4Lucia BozzolaTaking on the historical terrain given previous cinematic life in two Bette Davis vehicles, Elizabeth presents a complex portrait of the self-styled Virgin Queen and the violent underpinnings of the monarchy. Indian director Shekhar Kapur re-imagines the early, hotly contested years of the legendary queen's reign with a keen eye for both the harsh brutality of 16th century life and the opulent luxury afforded the nobles. As Elizabeth I, Cate Blanchett dexterously evolves from light-hearted young woman to preternaturally wise power broker to ossified icon, as emotionally gutted by her rise to supremacy as Francis Ford Coppola's Mafia don Michael Corleone. Geoffrey Rush and Christopher Eccleston excel as, respectively, the queen's consigliere and chief nemesis; and Remi Adefarasin's chiaroscuro cinematography further lends the events an atmospheric Godfather-esque sheen. Hailed for its visual splendor and Blanchett's career-making performance, Elizabeth scored seven Oscar nominations, including Best Actress and an unexpected nod for Best Picture, but lost out to the breezier Elizabethan romp Shakespeare in Love (1998).