Her performance in the psychological thriller Notes on a Scandal marks her sixth Academy Award nomination. In the film, Judi plays Barbara Covett, a cold and lonely teacher who befriends Sheba, her school's new art teacher. When she discovers Sheba is sleeping with a student, Barbara threatens to expose their scandalous affair.
New York Magazine calls Judi's performance "so electric it will make you quiver," and the role has been described as "the most fiendishly poisonous and hilariously nasty villainess in recent history."
Judi says when she first read the book she wasn't sure she wanted to be involved with the movie. "I actually thought that would be a difficult part to play.… I'd steer clear of her," Judi says. "It was the amalgam of [director] Richard Eyre, who I've worked with a lot, and [actress] Cate Blanchett and [producer] Scott Rudin that pushed me in that direction, and I'm very pleased I did it."