There are very few certainties thus far in this movie year, but I’m thinking Helen Mirren is a definite for an Oscar nomination. Her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in this film is the stuff of miracles, a virtuoso performance. The film deals with the Royals and their reaction to the death of Princess Diana, with Mirren delivering a performance that is surprisingly sympathetic, even funny. Rather than portray the woman as a stuffy traditionalist—although there are hints of that—she’s depicted as a somewhat quirky, tough persona, determined to take care of her grandchildren before paying homage to a woman she no longer considers part of her family. As history shows, she came to her senses, as most do after the shock of death manages to mess with one’s sense of self. Michael Sheen (best known for his role as Lucian in the crap Underworld movies) delivers a star-making turn as Prime Minister Tony Blair. A moment where the queen accepts a bouquet of flowers is one of the year’s best.