Emma Thompson is a British actress, screenwriter and author. Cited as one of the finest and best-known British actresses of her generation, she is noted for her comic timing and portrayal of haughty or matronly characters, often appearing in period dramas and literary adaptions.
Born in Paddington, London to English actor Eric Thompson and Scottish actress Phyllida Law, she was educated at Camden School for Girls and Newnham College, University of Cambridge, where she became the first female member of the Footlights troupe. After appearing in several comedy programmes, she first came to prominence in 1987 in two BBC TV series, Tutti Frutti and Fortunes of War, winning the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her work in both. Her first film role was opposite Jeff Goldblum in the 1989 romantic comedy The Tall Guy, and the early 1990s she frequently collaborated with then-husband actor and director Kenneth Branagh, appearing on stage together in A Midsummer Night's Dream and King Lear and in films like Dead Again, Peter's Friends and Much Ado About Nothing.
In 1992, Thompson won multiple acting awards, including an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress, for her performance as the bourgeois lady Margaret Schlegel in the British drama Howards End. In 1993, Thompson garnered dual Academy Award nominations, as Best Actress for her roles as stately home housekeeper Miss Kenton opposite Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day and as Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a campaigning lawyer Gareth Peirce alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in In the Name of the Father. In 1995, Thompson scripted and starred in Sense and Sensibility, a film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel of the same name, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role among other awards. Other notable film and television credits have included her role as the eccentric professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter film series, Love Actually, Angels in America, Nanny McPhee, Stranger than Fiction, Last Chance Harvey, An Education, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Men in Black 3, Brave, and as writer P. L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks, which earned her a BAFTA nomination.