Olivia Colman accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for 'The Favourite' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Matt Petit - Handout/A.M.P.A.S. | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
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From working as a cleaner to winning an Academy Award — here's what you need to know about Olivia Colman

The 91st Academy Awards was a night filled with surprises and firsts — with Olivia Colman ticking both of these boxes when she won the Oscar for best actress.

With her down-to-earth charisma and charm, alongside her award-winning performance as Queen Anne in "The Favourite," Colman has been making waves with international audiences.

While this was her first Oscar nomination and award, the British actress has been making several contributions to the entertainment world for close to two decades.

Yet, before she even won over the British public back in the 2000s, Colman had to work hard to get her foot in the door. She switched the subjects she was studying, and also took on jobs as a cleaner and a secretary.

Award winners from the 91st Oscars: Rami Malek, Olivia Colman, Regina King, Mahershala Ali (L-R)
Rick Rowell | Disney ABC Television Group | Getty Images

Having grown up in the English city of Norwich, Colman initially signed up for a teaching course at Homerton College, Cambridge, when she finished school, as she "didn't know what else to do and I still couldn't quite let myself want to act," Colman told British Vogue in 2017.

During her time in Cambridge however, she found herself auditioning for the university's Footlights Dramatic Club, where she would go onto meet her future co-stars, comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb.

Colman would also meet her future husband, Ed Sinclair, at Cambridge, before following him to Bristol, where she went onto study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Once Colman knew that she wanted to act professionally, she fought hard and never gave up on her dream.

"Being able to put 'actor' on my passport was all I wanted in the world," Colman told British Vogue.

When accepting her speech on Sunday, Colman explained how she "loved" her job as a cleaner, yet would often spend a lot of time imagining herself giving an award acceptance speech.

"And any little girl, who is practicing their speech on the telly — you never know," Colman said when receiving the "Best Actress" award.

Many attribute Colman's acting on "Peep Show," with Mitchell and Webb from 2003 onwards, as a breakout moment for her.

(L-R) Robert Webb, Olivia Colman and David Mitchell attend the Women in TV & Film Awards in London on December 7, 2012.
Mike Marsland | WireImage | Getty Images

And from then on Colman's acting career went from strength to strength. Since the mid-2000s, she's starred in several popular TV shows including "Broadchurch," "Fleabag" and "The Night Manager" — having received BAFTA TV awards for a number of her performances. She has also starred in several movies including "Hot Fuzz," "The Lobster," and "Murder on the Orient Express."

While Colman has won a number of awards for her work in the past, it seems that her Oscar win on Sunday left her truly taken aback.

"It's genuinely quite stressful. This is hilarious. I got an Oscar," Colman said on Sunday. In a follow up post-win press room interview, Colman admitted to reporters that she hadn't prepared any of her speech and was blindsided by the win.

Sunday's ceremony marked the first time Colman had been nominated for an Academy Award, and subsequently the first time she had won one. Colman was up against the likes of Yalitza Aparicio, Melissa McCarthy, Lady Gaga, and the favorite-to-win frontrunner, Glenn Close.

While the actress comically said in her acceptance speech that this Oscar win "is not going to happen again," it seems unlikely that Colman will go off people's radars anytime soon.

In the coming months alone, Colman is set to replace fellow Brit Claire Foy, as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix's "The Crown." She is also set to star in thriller "Them That Follow" and reprise her role in the BBC's British comedy show, "Fleabag."

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Olivia Colman accepts the Actress in a Leading Role award for 'The Favourite' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Matt Petit - Handout/A.M.P.A.S. | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
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