Mountain View

Overview

Frances Louise McDormand (born June 23, 1957) is an American actress. She is one of the few performers who have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting , with an Academy Award for Fargo (1996), a Tony Award for the Broadway play Good People (2011), and an Emmy Award for the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge (2014).

She has been married to filmmaker Joel Coen since 1984 and has starred in various films by the Coen brothers, including Blood Simple (1984), Raising Arizona (1987), Fargo (1996), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), Burn After Reading (2008), and Hail, Caesar! (2016). She was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Mississippi Burning (1988), Almost Famous (2000), and North Country (2005). Her other films include Short Cuts (1993), Primal Fear (1996), Wonder Boys (2000), Something’s Gotta Give (2003), and The Good Dinosaur (2015).

McDormand made her Broadway debut in the 1984 revival of Awake and Sing, and received a Tony Award nomination for her performance as Stella Kowalski in the 1988 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. She returned to Broadway for the first time in 20 years to star in the 2008 revival of The Country Girl, leading to a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Play.

 

Early life

McDormand was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was adopted at one-and-a-half years of age by a couple originally from Canada¬† Noreen E. (Nickleson), a registered nurse and receptionist, and Vernon W. McDormand, a Disciples of Christ pastor. She has said that her biological mother may have been one of the parishioners at Vernon’s church. She has a sister, Dorothy A. McDormand, who is an ordained Disciples of Christ minister and chaplain, as well as another sibling, both of whom were adopted by the McDormands, who had no biological children. As her father specialized in restoring congregations, he frequently moved their family, and they lived in several small towns in Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, before settling in Monessen, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Monessen High School in 1975. McDormand attended Bethany College in West Virginia, earning a Bachelor of Arts in theater in 1979. In 1982, she earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama. She was a roommate of actress Holly Hunter at the time.

Career

McDormand’s first professional acting job was in Trinidad and Tobago, performing in a play written by Derek Walcott and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. Her film debut was in the 1984 Coen brothers first film, Blood Simple. In 1987, she appeared as the wacky friend Dot in the hit film Raising Arizona, starring Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage. In addition to her early film roles, McDormand played Connie Chapman in the fifth season of the television police drama Hill Street Blues. In 1988, she played Stella Kowalski in a stage production of Tennessee WilliamsA Streetcar Named Desire, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. McDormand is an associate member of the experimental theater company The Wooster Group.

After appearing in several theatrical and television roles during the 1980s, McDormand gradually gained renown and critical acclaim for her dramatic work in film. In 1988, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Mississippi Burning. In 1996, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as police chief Marge Gunderson in Fargo. In 2000, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her portrayal of an overbearing mother in Almost Famous. For her role in Wonder Boys (2000), she won Best Supporting Actress from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. In 2006, McDormand received her fourth nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in North Country (2005). The same year she won an Independent Spirit Award for her supporting role in Nicole Holofcener‘s dark comedy Friends with Money (2006). She also voiced the role of the principal Melanie Upfoot in the Simpsons episode “Girls Just Want to Have Sums“, which aired on April 30, 2006.

In 2008, McDormand starred in the films Burn After Reading and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. She then appeared in the action movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon, playing the US government’s National Intelligence Director, alongside her Burn After Reading co-star John Malkovich. She returned to the stage in the David Lindsay-Abaire play Good People, in a limited engagement on Broadway from February 8, 2011 to May 29, 2011. Her performance earned her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. In the animated film Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012), she voiced Capitain Chantel Dubois and also sang a version of the French song “Non, je ne regrette rien“.

McDormand starred in Promised Land with Matt Damon, filmed in April 2012 and released on December 28, 2012. In November 2014, HBO telecast a four-part mini-series based upon the series of short stories by Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge, co-produced by and starring McDormand. The role won her the Primetime Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress. With her Emmy win, McDormand became the 12th actress in history to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting, for competitive Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award wins in the acting categories.

Personal life

McDormand has been married to director Joel Coen since 1984, and the two adopted a son from Paraguay, Pedro McDormand Coen, in 1994. They live in New York City.

Filmography

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Result
Film and television
1988 Mississippi Burning Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
1989 Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1996 Fargo Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress 2nd place
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress Won
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress 2nd place
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress Won
Society of Texas Film Critics Award for Best Actress Won
1997 Academy Award for Best Actress Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Won
Saturn Award for Best Actress Nominated
American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress Won
Empire Award for Best Actress Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress Won
Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead Won
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress Won
London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Actress of the Year Won
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress 3rd place
Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Actress Won
Satellite Award for Best Actress Motion Picture Drama Won
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress Won
1996 Lone Star Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
1997 Hidden in America Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
2000 Wonder Boys / Almost Famous Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
2001 Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress 2nd place
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated
2000 Almost Famous New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress 2nd place
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
2001 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role and the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture Nominated
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress Drama/Romance Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress 2nd place
Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Cast Performance Won
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
2002 The Man Who Wasn’t There Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2003 Laurel Canyon Gijn International Film Festival Award for Best Actress Won
2004 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female Nominated
2005 North Country Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
Satellite Award for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role, Drama Nominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Female Images in a Movie Won
2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2008 Burn After Reading St. Louis Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress 2nd place
2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical Nominated
2012 Moonrise Kingdom Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Ensemble Cast 2nd place
Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Acting Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast 2nd place
Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screen Couple Won
2013 Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble Won
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Behind The Voice Acting Feature Film Voice Acting Award for Best Female Vocal Performance in a Feature Film Nominated
2014 Olive Kitteridge Satellite Award for Best Actress Miniseries or Television Film Won
2015 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Won
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Won
Stage
1988 A Streetcar Named Desire Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play Nominated
2008 The Country Girl Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
2011 Good People Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play Won
Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play Won
Non-competitive special awards
1993 Short Cuts Venice Film Festival Special Ensemble Award Honored
Golden Globe Special Award for Ensemble Cast Honored
2001 n/a Elle Women in Hollywood Icon Award (shared) Honored
2014 Venice Film Festival Visionary Award Honored