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A Royal Flush at the Golden Globes

Let me tell you a tale of two royals, and why this weekend offers a chance you shouldn't pass up to catch up with the one you've likely missed.

A pair of movies — The Queen and The Last King of Scotland — opened within three days of each other last September. Both had amazing leading actors — Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, Forrest Whitaker as Idi Amin (the title of the film is one of many the African dictator conferred on himself). Both started out with limited runs in NY/LA (three theaters for her, four for him), both got great reviews and both sold out to the rafters that first weekend (taking in more than $35,000 per theater).

Then for some reason, Helen Mirren's Queen started pulling ahead of Whitaker's King, and she has never looked back. Almost three months into their respective runs, her movie has played at almost six times as many theaters as his and has taken in $68.1 million worldwide, nearly 20 times as much as King.

This week, both Mirren and Whitaker won lead-actor honors at the Golden Globes, and they're almost certain to be up for Oscars as well. Deservedly. They're that good.

Chances are, you've seen her. You really ought to see him.

The Queen earned a spot on NPR movie critic Bob Mondello's list of the best movies of 2006.

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Bob Mondello
Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.