Emily Beecham poses with her trophy after she won the Best Actress Prize for her part in "Little Joe." Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Britain's Emily Beecham has been catapulted into the movie big time by winning best actress at the Cannes film festival for playing an enigmatic scientist in "Little Joe."
Beecham, who has spent most of her career in supporting roles, was a surprise choice for the award for her performance as a botanist working on a flower that gives off a scent so ambrosial it makes people euphoric just to sniff it.
Indeed she admitted that she was so shocked that "I forgot to pack my toothbrush" when she received a call, after she'd left Cannes, telling her to come back and pick up the prize.
But while Beecham's rise has hardly been meteoric, the 35-year-old has been marked out as a talent to watch for a decade, winning best actress awards at both the Edinburgh and London Independent film festivals for one of her first films, "The Calling", in 2009.
Her big break came two years ago playing what Variety called "one of the more unpleasant characters in recent memory", a misanthropic young woman who witnesses a stabbing in Peter Mackie Burns' arthouse gem, "Daphne".
That helped consolidate the reputation the Manchester-born actress had won for a stream of British television roles including in the award-winning series "The Unforgiven", and the even more acclaimed "The Village", where she played opposite Maxine Peake and John Simm in the gritty historical rural drama.
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