Trust Judi Dench to spring a surprise in the BAFTA betting

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Midway through James Bond’s latest outing Skyfall, the film springs a surprise with the revelation that Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva is not seeking world domination but rather revenge against Judi Dench’s M, for leaving him to die years earlier.

While it’s the kind of twist not usually associated with films featuring the veteran British actress, when it comes to the annual awards gauntlet Dame Dench has a track record for causing a shock.

An undoubtedly accomplished actress, the veteran star has been springing surprises since the 90s, most notably in the form of her BAFTA and Academy Award wins for Shakespeare In Love.

Playing Queen Elizabeth I, Dench took home the awards despite her performance only equating to roughly eight minutes of screen time split over four scenes.

It remains the second-shortest performance to win the Best Supporting Actress award at the Oscars, with Beatrice Straight’s six minute showing in the 1976 winner Network the current record holder.

But Dame Judi wasn’t finished there, with her 2001 Best Actress in Leading Role BAFTA win for Iris seeing her pip the likes of Sissy Spacek and Audrey Tautoi – both of whom had been heavily tipped for success – to claim the top honour.

In truth, the actress has an excellent record of success at the British film awards, racking a grand total of six BAFTAs during her highly impressive career.

And she could well be in line for another award following her standout showing in the Stephen Frears’ drama Philomena.

Dench garnered rave reviews for her performance as the titular character in the story of her search to discover the whereabouts of her long lost child.

Cate Blanchett remains the 1/6 favourite to claim the Best Actress BAFTA for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, but with Dench a not too distant 6/1 to claim another accolade, don’t write off this national treasure just yet.

With the Dame on a run of five nominations and no award, don’t be surprised to see her take to the stage come February 16th.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.