Frances McDormand

  • 18 February 2005

Date of birth

23rd June, 1957




1st January, 1970



Frances McDormand (born 23.6.1957) Frances McDormand is an Academy Award-winning American actress.

Childhood: Frances McDormand was born in Chicago, Illinois. She was given up for adoption and was adopted by Noreen and Vernon McDormand. Noreen was a nurse and Vernon was a pastor. Frances' sister, Dorothy, is also a minister and chaplain. She has another two sisters, all of whom were adopted. The McDormands often moved home; as a result, Frances lived in Georgia Kentucky and Tennessee before the McDormands settled in Pittsburgh.

Frances McDormand attained a BA in Theatre in 1979, after studying at Bethany College, West Virginia. She went on to earn an MFA from Yale University School of Drama, where she shared a room with Holly Hunter.

Music Career: Frances McDormand's first paid acting job was performing in a play written by Derek Walcott, in Trinidad and Tobago. Her film debut came in 1984, when she appeared in Joel and Ethan Coen's first film, Blood Simple. The film also starred Jon Getz and marked the beginning of a long-standing professional relationship between McDormand and the Coen brothers.

Around this time, she shared a house in the Bronx, with Holly Hunter, the Coen brothers and the director Sam Raimi.

In 1987, she shared screen time with Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona, alongside Nicolas Cage.

McDormand also took on TV roles, playing Connie Chapman in the US police drama, Hill Street Blues. In addition to this, she worked on the stage, starring in a production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award.

As her big-screen career developed, Frances McDormand was nominated four times for an Academy Award. The first nomination came in 1988, when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Mississippi Burning. The film also starred Gene Hackman and Willem Defoe. Then, in 1996, McDormand won the Best Actress Award for her role in the Coen brothers' Fargo, which also starred William H Macy and Steve Buscemi. Her next nomination came for the Best Supporting Actress Award, this time for her performance in Almost Famous, which starred Kate Hudson as a rock band's groupie and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the revered music journalist Lester Bangs. McDormand's fourth Academy Award nomination came in 2006, again for the Best Supporting Actress gong, for her appearance in North Country, a film starring Charlize Theron and Sissy Spacek.

McDormand has won other awards, for films such as 2000's Wonder Boys, which included such luminaries as Michael Douglas, Robert Downey Jr and Tobey Maguire among the cast members.

Other significant film roles for Frances McDormand include her appearance in 2008's Burn After Reading, another Coen brothers film, starring John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton and George Clooney. In 2006, McDormand starred opposite Jennifer Aniston and Joan Cusack in Friends with Money, a critically-lauded drama that opened the 2006 Sundance Festival. 2008 also saw McDormand star alongside Amy Adams in the romantic comedy Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

Personal Life: Frances McDormand is married to the director Joel Coen, with whom she has often worked professionally throughout her career. Joel and Frances have an adopted son from Paraguay, named Pedro.

Frances McDormand Embraced Her Inner Crone For 'Three Billboards'

By Rich Cline in Movies / TV / Theatre on 12 January 2018

Frances McDormand

She had fun exploring the emotions of her character.

It's been more than 20 years since Frances McDormand won the Oscar for her performance in the Coen brothers' 1996 classic Fargo. And she seems to be heading for her second statuette with her thunderous role in Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, in which she plays Mildred, a woman deliberately provoking a small-town sheriff for not doing enough to catch the person who murdered her daughter.

Image caption Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand in 'Three Billboards'

But McDormand shrugs off the Oscar talk. "All those awards things," she laughs, "it's the movie social season! It's the time when everybody celebrates that they're in the business. I was already proud of the work. But it's nice when you make a movie and other people think the same thing and you're not deluding yourself."

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Isle Of Dogs Trailer

Imagine a world without dogs. It hardly bears thinking about, but in this dystopian look at Japan twenty years into the future, all canines have been banned from society after a bout of a dangerous illness called canine flu. Rather than being euthanised, the pooches are being quarantined and moved to Trash Island where they are left to fend for themselves. One group of four-legged friends includes Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), Boss (Bill Murray), Duke (Jeff Goldblum) and King (Bob Balaban), and they are seriously missing life amongst humankind - not to mention food that isn't mouldy and maggot-infested.

Then one day, a young boy named Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin) shows up on the island with a stolen Junior-Turbo Prop XJ750 aircraft searching for his own long lost pet, Spots. It doesn't take him long to win the trust of the island's residents, who agree to help him search for the dog. Of course, back home, he is noticeably missing and his family inform the authorities. Soon they arrive at the island preparing to take him home, but Atari doesn't want to leave without Spots - and his newfound friends won't let him either. As Atari's search takes them further afield, it becomes clear that there is a much darker conspiracy happening in the nation - and that his dog may be being held prisoner somewhere.

The Oscar nominated Wes Anderson ('The Grand Budapest Hotel', 'Fantastic Mr. Fox', 'The Darjeeling Limited') returns as the director and writer of a new stop-motion animation 'Isle of Dogs'. His previous collaborators Kunichi Nomura, and Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman ('Mozart in the Jungle') also helped write the story. The film, which features an all-star cast, was originally teased by the filmmaker back in December 2016 when he unveiled the briefest of clips from the movie showing Edward Norton's character Rex.

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Frances McDormand - The Los Angeles LGBT Center's 46th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards_Inside at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 7th November 2015

Hail, Caesar! Trailer

Eddie Mannix is a fixer who works in Hollywood where he tames celebrities and keeps theirs, and movie studios', secrets out of the press - no matter how big the story. It's not the easiest job in the world, and it's certainly not always the most morally fulfilling, but it's about to get a whole lot harder when one studio, Capitol Pictures, presents him with a major problem the likes of which could be career destroying. They're working on a huge production epic entitled 'Hail, Caesar!' starring Hollywood sensation Baird Whitlock, but things go particularly awry when he is kidnapped and held for ransom by a mysterious group known only as The Future. They want $100,000, and after 24 hours, the studio aren't looking any more hopeful. Mannix enlists a feisty and beautiful female star to procure the money, while Whitlook finds himself in a most unusual situation.

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Frances McDormand - 67th Annual Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theatre at Microsoft Theatre, Emmy Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 20th September 2015

Frances McDormand - The 67th Emmy Awards Pressroom at Emmy Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 21st September 2015

Frances McDormand - 67th Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room at Microsoft Theater at LA Live, Primetime Emmy Awards, Emmy Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 21st September 2015

'Game Of Thrones' And Viola Davis Make History At 67th Primetime Emmy Awards

By Stephanie Chase in Movies / TV / Theatre on 21 September 2015

Viola Davis Jon Hamm Peter Dinklage Julia Louis-Dreyfus Jeffrey Tambor Emmy Awards Frances McDormand Joan Cusack Jon Stewart

It was also a good night for ‘Mad Men’s’ Jon Hamm and comedy ‘Veep’.

Last night’s Primetime Emmy Awards saw history being made as HBO drama ‘Game Of Thrones’ took home an unprecedented 12 awards and ‘How To Get Away With Murder's' Viola Davis became the first black actress to win the outstanding lead actress in a drama series award.

Viola Davis was named outstanding lead actress in a drama series.

‘Game of Throne’s’ 12 gongs is more than any other series has won in a single year at the awards show. Among the trophies picked up by the fantasy series were, outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for Peter Dinklage and outstanding directing for a drama series going to David Nutter. The show also beat ‘Mad Men’ to scoop the outstanding drama series award.

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The Good Dinosaur - Teaser Trailer

Luckily for the human race, dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the Earth millions and millions of years ago after a deadly asteroid struck the globe. But what would the world be like if that meteorite missed the planet, sparing the colossal creatures much loved by children? While the thought might be somewhat terrifying, this is a story about a young Apatosaurus named Arlo who's not such a danger to his fellow Earthlings. After a family tragedy, Arlo finds himself shaken and confused and winds up injured, only to then find himself far away from home. Troubled but determined, he sets out on formidable journey to find his way back to his family again and on the way meets a young human boy, who he is quick to befriend. If you thought dinosaurs couldn't be compassionate and make awesome friends, you were so wrong.

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Frances McDormand - 71st Venice International Film Festival - Olive Kitteridge 1-2 - Photocall - Venice, Italy - Monday 1st September 2014

The Coen Brothers Lining Up 'Fargo' TV Series For FX

By Joe Wilde in Movies / TV / Theatre on 03 August 2013

Coen Brothers Billy Bob Thornton William H Macy Steve Buscemi Frances McDormand

The multi-award-winning filmmakers will turn their Oscar-winning black comedy into a TV series, with Billy Bob Thornton taking on the starring role

Joel and Ethan Coen will be reviving their much-acclaimed 1996 dark crime caper Fargo for a television audience, Reuters reported, with plans for a Fargo TV series being announced earlier this week. On Friday (2 August), a spokesperson for Fox's FX channel revealed that the filmmaking siblings are working on a TV-version of the Oscar-winning film, due to air on the channel in Spring 2014.

The Coen Brothers are taking their first steps into television

The spokesperson also added that the 10-episode mini-series already has a major acting talent lined-up to star in the film-adaption, with Billy Bob Thornton unveiled as one of the stars of the series. The 57-year-old will play one of several new characters due to be introduced in the new series, taking on the part of criminal Lorne Malvo, who was described as "a rootless, manipulative man who meets a small town insurance salesman and sets him on a path of destruction" in the FX statement. No further cast and character details were announced, however it was revealed that the Coens will be serving as executive producers for the mini-series.

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Promised Land Review

By Rich Cline


Hydraulic fracturing might not be the most compelling subject for a movie, but it provides a topical backdrop for this engaging drama about ethics. It also lets actor-screenwriter Damon reunite with his Good Will Hunting director Van Sant for another strikingly well-made movie centring around a handful of strong characters. And while we know what the filmmakers feel about this contentious issue, at least the script isn't heavy handed about it.

The story takes place in a rural New England town, where oil company workers Steve and Sue (Damon and McDormand) are trying to secure the leases needed to drill for natural gas. The farmers badly need the cash to keep in business, but a retired science teacher (Holbrook) voices concern about the potential dangers of "fracking". He's joined by environmental activist Dustin (Krasinski) to turn the town against Steve and Sue's multinational corporation. And Dustin even starts to meddle in a budding romance between Steve and local teacher Alice (DeWitt).

The script is cleverly constructed to make us wonder who is telling the full truth. There are obviously risks associated with fracking, but have they been exaggerated by politically motivated campaigns? Damon plays Steve as a straight-arrow, a nice guy who genuinely believes that the process is safe. Meanwhile, Krasinski is a but more slippery as the grassroots voice of caution, and the terrific McDormand gets all the best lines.

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Is Promised Land Political? Matt Damon Won't Weigh In On Fracking Debate

By Hayley Avron in Movies / TV / Theatre on 02 January 2013

Matt Damon John Krasinski Frances McDormand

Matt Damon gets political in his new movie Promised Land, which tackles the issue of ‘fracking,’ the process of hydraulic fractured drilling, which has been at the root of great political debate in the US for some time. Its effects on drinking water and the debate surrounding energy use is a controversial one and has been gaining notoriety. The arrival of Promised Land will inevitably bring that debate to the awareness of even more American citizens.

In an interview with Reuters, though Damon was not prepared to weigh in on either side of the environmental debate. "The point is that the movie should start a conversation. It's certainly not a pro-fracking movie, but we didn't want to tell people what to think.” Damon also said that whilst the issue of fracking was at the centre of the story. “It wasn't that we said we wanted to make a movie about 'fracking' as much as we wanted to make a movie about American identity, about real people. We wanted to make a movie about the country today, where we came from, where we are and where we are headed.”

Promised Land also stars Frances McDormand and John Krasinski (possibly best known for his role in the US version of The Office) and is scheduled for release in April 2013.

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Promised Land Trailer

Steve Butler is a successful businessman as part of a natural gas company who wishes to close down failing farming communities in order to obtain resources. He and his business partner Sue Thomason go to visit a particular town that is suffering a lot in the economic crisis in the hope that it will be easy to get drilling rights for the farmers' land in order to gain important resources through hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as 'fracking'. Things do seem easy at first, with his proposition providing some hope of economic relief for many members of the community, however he is soon challenged when a highly regarded teacher from the school and a determined grassroots campaigner object to the proposal and go about trying to get the rest of the town to vote against it.

'Promised Land' is a particularly appropriate film for the current economic climate and raises important issues that are of real concern to many. It has been directed by Gus Van Sant ('Good Will Hunting', 'Milk', 'Paris, je t'aime'), written by the movie's stars John Krasinski and Oscar winner Matt Damon (writer of 'Good Will Hunting') and based on a story by Dave Eggers ('Away We Go', 'Where the Wild Things Are') and is set to hit screens in the UK next year on April 19th 2013.

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

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Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Review

By Rich Cline


Instead of developing the characters or situations for comedy gold, the filmmakers instead just crank up the chaos. So while some scenes are both funny and visually impressive, this second sequel is simply too inane to make us hope there will be a part 4. Very young kids may be distracted by the hectic pacing and hyperactive characters, but everyone else will quickly be bored by the nonstop mayhem, simply because there's nothing interesting going on.

Anxious lion Alex (Stiller), chatty zebra Marty (Rock), nerdy giraffe Melman (Schwimmer) and silly hippo Gloria (Smith) are living a Lion King-style existence in Africa, although their only hope for escape has just flown away. Namely, the brainy penguins and their monkey assistants. So our heroes follow them to Monaco, where they all end up on the run from the notorious animal control agent Dubois (McDormand). They run straight into a failing circus, which they set out to bring back to its glory days so they can catch the eye of an American promoter and go home to New York. To do this means working with the current circus acts: sultry cheetah Gia (Chastain), dorky sea lion Stefano (Short) and tetchy tiger Vitaly (Cranston).

The circus premise lets the filmmakers have a lot of visual fun with the characters, most notably in a riotously colourful Cirque du Soleil-on-acid performance in London. But the plot makes no sense at all (if they can get to Monaco, surely they could get to New York, right?), and there are so many new characters that the central quartet feels almost sidelined. Especially since they've also wedged in an under-developed romance for the lemur king (Baron Cohen). Yes, it's all over the place, and being busy is not the same thing as being clever or funny.

Continue reading: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Review