Best Actress - 2007
Pat Nesbit in The Lion in Winter at the Caldwell Theatre
Taking on the role of Eleanor of Aquitaine in Caldwell's February production of The Lion in Winter couldn't have been an easy choice for Pat Nesbit, competing against a Katharine Hepburn incarnation that had won the movie star an Academy Award in 1968. Still, Nesbit took and held the stage with a grace and confidence that made her seem like the first person to ever inhabit the role. She was the very picture of poise, all of her emotions sublimated beneath the smooth politesse that's both royalty's reward and curse. You could call her dignity under duress and her deadpan delivery of devastatingly barbed wit virtuosic, riveting, or any of the superlatives you might ordinarily toss at a great performance. But the most fitting appellation is, simply, queenly.