Helen Mirren is a veteran actress who has been the recipient of many awards, but a recent honor has come under fire after critics said the whole thing was rigged.
Mirren won the prestigious Best Actress prize at the Evening Standard Theater Awards last month, but three judges have quit the panel, citing foul play. They say one judge changed his vote, which led to Mirren being called the winner. Henry Hitchings reportedly revised his choice after a secret ballot left a tie in place.
“In discussion about what was a dead heat, Henry and I decided that we would go for an option that would make Helen Mirren the winner,” said Evening Standard editor Rosalie Craig. “By doing a first and second vote we could balance the two factions with a third option, which is what happened.”
The judges felt there was something fishy going on, however, and resigned their posts. They are named as Charles Spencer of The Telegraph, Georgina Brown of The Mail on Sunday, and Susannah Clapp of The Observer.
Mirren was given the award for her work in “The Audience”; actors Kevin Spacey and Maggie Smith were also celebrated at the awards show.
“The judging for the Evening Standard Theatre awards was conducted properly,” said a spokesperson for the Evening Standard. “The transferable vote is a perfectly legitimate and long standing element of judging. One judge’s first choice in the category in question was a winner in a different category; therefore his second choice became his first vote. The result of the transferred vote, without a clear winner in the category, gave us our best actress.”
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