Samantha Morton

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Samantha Morton
Samantha Morton.jpg
Morton at the 2008 BAFTA Awards.
Born Samantha Jane Morton[1]
(1977-05-13) 13 May 1977 (age 36)[1][2]
Nottingham, England[1]
Occupation Actress, director
Years active 1991–present
Partner(s) Charlie Creed-Miles (1999–2000; 1 child)
Harry Holm (2005–present; 2 children)

Samantha Jane Morton (born 13 May 1977) is an English actress and film director. She has won a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe Award. She is also a two-time Academy Award nominee.

Morton began her acting career with guest roles in television shows such as Soldier Soldier and Cracker, before appearing from 1995 to 1996 in the ITV drama Band of Gold. Her film debut was in 1997 in This Is the Sea. In 1999, she played Hattie in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She received a second Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Actress, for her performance as the young Irish mother, Sarah, coping with life in New York City in the 2003 film In America. For her role as Myra Hindley in 2006's Longford she won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress (television).

Her other films include, Under the Skin (1997), Minority Report (2002), Morvern Callar (2002), Enduring Love (2004), The Libertine (2005), Lassie (2005), Control (2007), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Mister Lonely (2007), Synecdoche, New York (2008) and The Messenger (2009). She made her directorial debut with the British television film The Unloved (2009), for which she won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Single Drama.

Early life[edit]

Morton was born in Nottingham, the third child of Peter Morton and Pamela Freebury, a factory worker.[3] She has six half-siblings from her parents' relationships, subsequent to their 1979 divorce.[4] At the age of seven, Morton was made a ward of court and never lived with her natural parents again. The next nine years were spent in and out of foster care and children's homes. She attended West Bridgford Comprehensive School.[2]

Under the effects of drugs, she threatened an older girl who had been bullying her.[5] She was convicted of making threats to kill.[6] She served 18 weeks in an attendance centre.[5][6] Morton said in an interview, "as a child I had a serious anger problem, but from the age of 16 I've been trying to turn bad things into positives."

Career[edit]

1991–1998[edit]

Morton took up acting as a child. She joined the Central Junior Television Workshop when she was 13 and was soon being offered small-screen roles. In 1991, she was cast as Clare Anderson in the first series of Lucy Gannon's Soldier Soldier and also made an appearance, as Mandy, in an episode of Boon —both were Central TV productions.[citation needed]

Moving to London at sixteen, Morton applied to numerous drama schools, including RADA, without success.[2][2] In 1991 she attended Clarendon College Of Performing Arts to gain a BTEC award but subsequently left for personal reasons.[7] She made her stage début at the Royal Court Theatre,[2] and continued her television career with appearances in Peak Practice and in an episode of Cracker called "The Big Crunch."

She had a role in the first two series of Kay Mellor's successful Band of Gold (1995). Further television roles followed, including parts in period dramas including Emma, Jane Eyre and The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. The well-received Under the Skin (1997) continued to raise her profile.

1999–2004[edit]

Impressed by her performance in Under the Skin, Woody Allen cast her in Sweet and Lowdown (1999). In the film, she gave an acclaimed performance and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2000. Critic Stephanie Zacharek wrote in her review "Rising star Samantha Morton shines in this charming, finely crafted film from Woody Allen" and that "Her performance is like nothing I’ve seen in recent years."[8] Also, James Berardinelli praised the actress, by saying that she "overmatches her more experienced co-star with a luminous and heartbreaking performance."[9]

She appeared in the film Jesus' Son (1999), which came out in a limited release in June 2000, after being screened at the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival. She received a nomination for Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture for her performance in that film. She starred in the biographical independent film Pandaemonium, released 2000. She won a British Independent Film Award in the category of Best Actress. Morton played a mermaid opposite Larry Mullen in the Anton Corbijn-directed promotional video for U2's "Electrical Storm". She also provided the voice of Ruby for the Canadian animated series Max and Ruby from 2001 to 2003.

Morvern Callar, a British film starring Morton, received a limited release in 2002. In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Nick LaSalle stated that Morton "has moments of striking subtlety and detail. Her take upon receiving a major offer for her boyfriend's novel (which she claims as her own) is as satisfying a close-up as anyone could hope to see."[10] Morton got a Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress.

Also in 2002, she appeared in the Steven Spielberg-directed film Minority Report, opposite Tom Cruise. She won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.

She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for In America in 2004. Roger Ebert wrote that Morton "reveals the power of her silences, her quiet, her presence."[11] She also appeared in Code 46 (2003) and Enduring Love (2004).

2005–2007[edit]

Morton played the Moors murderess Myra Hindley in a television film Longford (2006). Set between 1967 and 1997, the film depicts the relationship between the child murderer and Lord Longford, the politician who spent years campaigning (ultimately unsuccessfully) for her release. Morton was severely criticised by the relatives of the children who were killed by Hindley and Ian Brady, but she insisted, "It is my duty as a performer to raise issues...we're afraid to look at".[12] Morton received a 2007 Emmy nomination and won a Golden Globe, both for Best Supporting Actress.

She then starred in the independent comedy-drama film Expired (2007), which required her to move to Los Angeles during filming. The film opened to mixed responses from critics. New York magazine noted that Morton "is one of those tingly actresses whose skin barely covers her soul, and to watch her search for tender mercies in a crazy-hostile world is a gift."[13]

She played Marilyn Monroe in the drama-comedy feature film Mister Lonely, which was first screened in 2007 at the Cannes Film Festival. During an interview, she said, "In Mister Lonely we all live in a commune as the characters we impersonate and support each other. I'm married to a Charlie Chaplin impersonator and we have a daughter who is a Shirley Temple impersonator."[14] She had a supporting role in the 2007 film Elizabeth: The Golden Age, in which she played Mary, Queen of Scots.

In 2007, she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Control (2007), again directed by Anton Corbijn. She played Deborah Curtis, wife of musician Ian Curtis, whose biography Touching from a Distance formed the basis of the film.[15] Russell Edwards, from Variety magazine called her performance "astonishing" and "sympathetic".[16]

2008–present[edit]

Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman cast Morton as Hazel in Synecdoche, New York, alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michelle Williams and Emily Watson. The film was a box office bomb,[17] but it was praised by critics, appearing on many top ten lists for 2008.[18] In an interview with Movieline, Morton spoke about her experience of working with director Kaufman, saying, "it was like going to school, every time. You were constantly learning a different way of working, a different way of looking at my craft. And also I was giving as much as I can. It was very liberating to work with him."[19]

She starred in the war drama The Messenger (2009) as Oliva Patterson, a widow whose husband was killed in Iraq. The film, co-starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Jena Malone, was the directorial debut of Oren Moverman.[20] Claudia Puig of USA Today asserted that Morton, "as always, gives a subtle, excellent performance."[21] She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 14th Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and the 25th Independent Spirit Awards.

Her directorial début, the semi-autobiographical Channel 4 drama The Unloved, written in collaboration with Tony Grisoni, was first broadcast on 17 May 2009.[22][23] The film was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2009. Michael Deacon praised Morton on creating an 'intense' and 'vivid' dramatic film.[24] Morton won a BAFTA for her direction in 2010.

In 2012, Morton co-starred in Cosmopolis, directed by David Cronenberg, and provided the voice of Sola in epic science fiction film John Carter. It was announced she will play the title role in the film Decoding Annie Parker.[25]

She was the original voice of the artificially intelligent operating system in the 2013 film Her directed by Spike Jonze, but her voice was dubbed over in the final version by Scarlett Johansson. Morton was on set during the entire filming process and is credited as an Associate Producer.[26]

Other projects[edit]

Morton has urged people to volunteer help to smaller charities. In 2008, she was part of the Vodafone Foundation's World of Difference campaign, which gives people the opportunity to work for a charity of their choice. "It's very important to know that there's over two million people dissatisfied with their work life,: she said. "And a lot of people, I think about 70 per cent of people actually want to go and work for a charity. They don't know how and actually can't afford it. So I think this campaign is hugely important because it'll give these people an opportunity to go and do that. To probably make a dream come true and help someone in the process."[27]

In March 2009, Morton returned to her hometown to show her support for its children's homes and protest against the threatened closure, by Nottingham City Council, of one of the four establishments with 24 social-care staff facing redundancy.[28] She also fronted a TV advertising recruitment campaign for social workers in the UK in 2009.[29]

Whilst attending a fundraiser for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) in January 2009, she vowed never to work for the BBC again after their refusal to broadcast an emergency charity appeal for the victims of Israel's attack on Gaza on 27 December 2008. She was later joined by Tam Dean Burn, Pauline Goldmsith, Peter Mullan and Alison Peebles who also threatened to boycott the Corporation.[30]

In 2012 Morton showed her support for the Fostering Network's annual campaign Foster Care Fortnight.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Morton had a short relationship with actor Charlie Creed-Miles from 1999 to 2000. They appeared together in The Last Yellow (1999). Their daughter, Esme, was born in London on 5 February 2000.[4] In 2005, she started a relationship with filmmaker Harry Holm (the son of actor Ian Holm), shortly after she met him when Holm directed her in a video for the band The Victims.[2] Their daughter Edie was born on 4 January 2008 in London.[2] Their second child was born in 2012.

In early 2008, she revealed that she was 'close to death' after suffering a debilitating stroke due to being hit by a piece of 17th century plaster that fell on her head (damaging her vertebral artery) in 2006. She was in the hospital for three weeks and had to learn to walk again.[32]

On 20 July 2011, Morton received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from Nottingham Trent University.[33]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1994 Cracker murder victim Joanne Barnes 3 Episodes
1995–1996 Band of Gold Naomi 'Tracey' Richardson 12 Episodes
1996 Emma Harriet Smith TV film
1997 This Is the Sea Hazel Stokes
Jane Eyre Jane Eyre TV film
Under the Skin Iris Kelly Angers European First Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Gijón International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Performance by a British Actress in an Independent Film
1999 Sweet and Lowdown Hattie London Film Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress
Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
Nominated – National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Musical or Comedy
Jesus' Son Michelle Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Drama
Dreaming of Joseph Lees Eva Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
Verona Love Screens Film Festival Award for Best Actress
2000 Pandaemonium Sara Coleridge Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
2002 Minority Report Agatha Empire Award for Best British Actress
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Morvern Callar Morvern British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – London Film Circle Award for British Actress of the Year
2003 In America Sarah Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Code 46 Maria Gonzáles Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actress (Audience Award)
2004 Enduring Love Claire Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor/Actress
Nominated – Empire Award for Best British Actress
2005 River Queen Sarah O'Brian Nominated – New Zealand Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
The Libertine Elizabeth Barry
Lassie Sarah Carraclough
2006 Free Jimmy Sonia Voice – English version
Longford Myra Hindley TV film
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Golden Nymph for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Film
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
2007 Expired Claire
Control Deborah Curtis International Cinephilia Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor/Actress
Nominated – Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – London Film Circle Award for British Actress of the Year
Elizabeth: The Golden Age Mary, Queen of Scots
Mister Lonely Marilyn Monroe Nominated – Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
2008 Synecdoche, New York Hazel Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Independent Spirit Award: Robert Altman Award
The Daisy Chain Martha Conroy Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
2009 The Messenger Olivia Pitterson San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Nominated – National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
Nominated – St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
The Unloved Director; TV film
British Academy Television Award for Best Single Drama
Nominated – British Independent Film Award: Douglas Hickox Award
2012 John Carter Sola Performance capture
Cosmopolis Vija Kinsky
2013 Decoding Annie Parker Anne Parker
The Harvest Filming
2014 Miss Julie Kristin Filming

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Birth Registration Details" Ancestry.co.uk (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Addley, Esther; "'I think she is attracted to women who have difficulties...'" Guardian.co.uk, 5 October 2007 (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  3. ^ "Samantha Morton Biography (1977–)" FilmReference.com (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  4. ^ a b "Biography: Samantha Morton" Yahoo.com (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  5. ^ a b Hattenstone, Simon; "I was abused for a long time and I retaliated" Guardian.co.uk, 25 May 2009 (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  6. ^ a b "Actress Samantha Morton was charged with attempted murder aged 14" Telegraph.co.uk, 25 April 2009 (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  7. ^ Wazir, Burhan; "Young, gifted and gabby", The Observer, 18 June 2000 (Retrieved 30 June 2009)
  8. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (3 December 1999). "Sweet and Lowdown". Salon.com. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Barardinelli. "Review: Sweet and Lowdown". Reel Reviews. Retrieved 5 December 2007. 
  10. ^ LaSalle, Nick (17 January 2003). "'MORVERN CALLAR'". San Franscisco Chronicle. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Chicago Sun-Times review
  12. ^ Barnes, Anthony; "'Yes, I'm playing Myra Hindley. It's my duty to raise things we're afraid of'", The Independent, 8 January 2006 (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  13. ^ "Expired Review". New York Magazine. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "Not afraid of the dark". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 6 December 2011. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Control (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  16. ^ Edwards, Russell (8 June 2007). "Control". Variety. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Synecdoche, New York". Box Office Mojo. IMDb Inc. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "2008 Top Ten List". Metacritic (CBS Interactive). 
  19. ^ "Samantha Morton: The Movieline Interview". Movieline. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Interview: Samantha Morton, actress with a simple message" 15 June 2011, The Scotsman
  21. ^ Puig, Claudia (20 November 2011). "'The Messenger' delivers a poignant tale". USA Today. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  22. ^ Dowell, Ben; "TV ratings: Samantha Morton directing debut draws 2 million viewers" Guardian.co.uk, 18 May 2009 (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  23. ^ Gilbert, Gerard; "Look back in anger: Samantha Morton makes her directorial debut" Independent.co.uk, 16 May 2009 (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  24. ^ Deacon, Michael (18 May 2009). "TV review: The Unloved (C4) and Pulling (BBC Three)". Telegraph.co.uk (London). Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  25. ^ "DECODING ANNIE PARKER casts Helen Hunt, Maggie Grace, Aaron Paul" 4 October 2011, Upcoming Movies.com
  26. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/12/spike-jonze-her-nyff_n_4090233.html
  27. ^ "Samantha's charity plea". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  28. ^ "Samantha Morton supports threatened children's home" ThisisNottingham.co.uk, 9 March 2009 (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  29. ^ Balls, Ed (9 September 2009). "Ed Balls: 'I want social work to be deservedly valued by the public'". The Guardian (London). 
  30. ^ Hemley, Matthew; "Actors threaten to boycott BBC over Gaza aid appeal ban" TheStage.co.uk, 26 January 2009 (Retrieved 26 August 2009)
  31. ^ the Fostering Network's "Oscar nominated star supports Foster Care Fortnight" 30 April 2012, Fostering.net
  32. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (9 May 2010). "Samantha Morton: 'I could play a prostitute convincingly because my best friend was one'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  33. ^ "Samantha Morton gets Nottingham Trent honorary degree". BBC News. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 

External links[edit]