After his Academy Award win, Mark Rylance is on his way to being an EGOT

Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance

 

by Nicole LaBresh

Broadway stars have been taking this award season by storm, even with the Tony Awards still a few months away. The latest win for a stage favorite was Mark Rylance who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Bridge of Spies.

Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on actual events that occurred during the Cold War. Rylance plays a Soviet spy who is captured and forced to face trial. Appointed to defend him is an insurance lawyer played by Tom Hanks, who is at first reluctant to take the case as he knows the public will view him as a traitor for defending a spy, but he becomes so invested in the case that he mediates a prisoner exchange between the two nations. Rylance’s character is perhaps the most lovable Soviet spy to ever hit the silver screen. The audience is won over by Rylance’s performance as Rudolf Abel. His non-threatening disposition and quirky sense of humor even in the face of death. Abel’s seemingly gentle nature is shown in stark contrast to the public’s view of him as the enemy and call for his blood. Rylance’s portrayal humanizes and makes audiences empathize with this character who might otherwise be labeled as “the bad guy.”

This was Rylance’s first Academy Award nomination and first win. He beat out top pick Sylvester Stallone, much to the surprise of many, including Stallone’s brother Frank, who was not shy in voicing his disapproval of the Academy’s decision. With this win, Rylance is now halfway to an EGOT. Though his acceptance speech was not the characteristic prose poem that he has given while accepting his Tony Awards, his speech was widely deemed to be the classiest most sincere of the night in its praise of Spielberg and Hanks.

Prior to his Oscar, Rylance already had three Tonys under his belt for his performances in Twelfth Night, Jersualem, and Boeing-Boeing, in addition to two Olivier’s and a BAFTA. His Broadway credits also include Richard III and Le Bête, and he can currently be seen in Nice Fish at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York. He was also the first artistic director at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater from 1995 to 2005, during which time he acted in and directed several works by Shakespeare and others.

Rylance was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Bridges of Spies and Wolf Hall. Other film credits of his include Bing, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Roald Dahl’s The BFG, also directed by Spielberg, will be released later this year.

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