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Katherine Mathilda "Tilda" Swinton (born 5 November 1960) is a Britishmarker actress known for both arthouse and mainstream films.

Early life

Swinton was born in London, Englandmarker. Her mother, Judith Balfour (née Killen), was Australian, and her father, Major-General Sir John Swinton of Kimmerghame, Berwickshiremarker, KCVO, is Scottish. The Swinton family is an ancient Anglo-Scots family that can trace its lineage to the ninth century.

Swinton attended West Heath Girls' School (the same class as Diana, Princess of Wales), and also Fettes Collegemarker for a brief period. In 1983, she graduated from New Hallmarker (now known as Murray Edwards Collegemarker) at Cambridge Universitymarker with a degree in Social and Political Sciences. She has two Honorary Doctorates: one from Napier University in Edinburgh, received in August 2006 and one from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) in Glasgow, received July 2006. She was a contributing editor to the literary magazine Zembla.

Career

Arthouse work

Swinton worked with the Traverse Theatremarker in Edinburghmarker, starring in Mann ist Mann by Manfred Karge, and the Royal Shakespeare Company before embarking on a career in film in the mid-1980s. She appeared as Julia in the 1986 television mini-series Zastrozzi: A Romance based on the Gothic novel by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her early film work included several film roles for director Derek Jarman, notably War Requiem (1989) playing a nurse opposite Laurence Olivier as an old soldier. In 1991, Swinton won the Volpi Cup Best Actress award for her role in the postmodern film Edward II. Swinton also played the title role in Orlando, Sally Potter's film version of the novel by Virginia Woolf.

In 1995, with producer and friend Joanna Scanlan, Swinton developed a performance/installation art piece in which as a live exhibit in the Serpentine Gallerymarker, Londonmarker, she was on display to the public for a week, asleep or apparently so, in a glass case, as a piece of performance art. The piece is sometimes credited to Cornelia Parker, whom Swinton invited to collaborate for the installation in London. The following year, the performance, entitled The Maybe, was repeated at the Museo Barracco in Romemarker. She also appeared in the music video for Orbital's "The Box". She has collaborated with the fashion designers Viktor & Rolf. She was the focus of their 'One Woman Show' 2003, in which they made all the models look like copies of Swinton, and she read a poem (of her own) that included the line:

"There is only one you. Only one".

Mainstream films

Recent years have seen Swinton move towards more mainstream projects, including the leading role in the American film The Deep End (2001), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She appeared as a supporting character in films such as The Beach (2000), featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Vanilla Sky (2001) with Tom Cruise and, as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine (2005) with Keanu Reeves. Swinton has also appeared in the Britishmarker films The Statement (2003) and Young Adam (2003), and sat on the jury of the 2004 Cannes Film Festivalmarker.
In 2005, Swinton performed as the White Witch Jadis, in the film version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and as Audrey Cobb in the Mike Mills film adaptation of the novel Thumbsucker. Swinton later had a cameo in Narnia's sequel.

In 2007, Swinton's performance as Karen Crowder in Michael Clayton earned her both a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress as well as the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the 2008 80th Academy Awards, the film's sole win. Swinton's appearance at the Oscars was remarkable in that she chose to wear very little makeup, though she did wear a silk Lanvin gown. Of Swinton's au naturel appearance, friend and sometimes stylist Jerry Stafford remarked, “This is skin born of the Scottish highlands, so why hide it? Why the hell put foundation on it and all this garish lipstick?

Swinton next appeared in the newest Coen Brothers film, Burn After Reading. Swinton said of the film, in which she plays opposite George Clooney, "I don’t know if it will make anybody else laugh, but it really made us laugh while making it." She was cast for the role of Elizabeth Abbott in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, alongside Burn After Reading co-star Brad Pitt. She is due to star in the upcoming film adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Other projects

Swinton has recently collaborated with artist Patrick Wolf on his 2009 album The Bachelor, contributing four spoken word pieces.

Swinton appeared at the 2009 81st Academy Awards helping to present the 2009 Best Supporting Actress Awards. She was announced and appeared along with Eva Marie Saint, Goldie Hawn, Anjelica Huston and Whoopi Goldberg, all past Best Supporting Actress award winners. Swinton was the one who announced the winner for Best Supporting Actress, which Penelope Cruz won.

In August 2006 she opened the new Screen Academy Scotland production centre in Edinburgh.

On July 2008 she founded the film festival Ballerina Ballroom Cinema Of Dreams. The event took place in a ballroom in Nairnmarker in the Scottish Highlands in August.

Personal life

Swinton lives in Nairnmarker, in the Highlandmarker area of Scotlandmarker, near Scottish painter John Byrne. With Byrne she has her twin son and daughter, Xavier and Honor. She travels with her partner Sandro Kopp, a German/New Zealandmarker painter. She has been with Kopp since 2004 and the relationship has Byrne's blessing. In an interview, Swinton commented on her domestic situation: "It’s the way we have been for nearly four years. I’m very fortunate. It takes some extraordinary men to make a situation like that work."

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1986 Egomania - Insel ohne Hoffnung Sally
Zastrozzi: A Romance Julia Mini TV series
Caravaggio Lena
1987 Aria Young Girl (segment "Depuis le jour")
Friendship's Death Friendship
1988 The Last of England
Das Andere Ende der Welt
Degrees of Blindness
L' Ispirazione
1989 Play Me Something Hairdresser TV
War Requiem Nurse
1990 "Your Cheatin' Heart" Cissie Crouch TV series
The Garden Madonna
1991 Edward II Isabella Volpi Cup
The Party: Nature Morte Queenie
1992 "Shakespeare: The Animated Tales" Ophelia Mini TV series; voice
Orlando Orlando Seattle Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Thessaloniki Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Nominated — European Film Award for Best Actress

Man to Man Ella/Max Gericke
1993 Blue Voice
Das Offene Universum Carla TV
Wittgenstein Lady Ottoline Morrell
1994 Remembrance of Things Fast: True Stories Visual Lies
Visions of Heaven and Hell Narrator TV
1996 Female Perversions Eve Stephens
1997 Conceiving Ada Ada Augusta Byron King, Countess of Lovelace
1998 Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon Muriel Belcher
The Protagonists
1999 The War Zone Mum
2000 Possible Worlds Joyce Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
The Beach Sal
2001 Vanilla Sky Rebecca Dearborn
The Deep End Margaret Hall Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture








2002 Adaptation Valerie Thomas Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Teknolust Rosetta/Ruby/Marinne/Olive
2003 The Statement Annemarie Livi
Young Adam Ella Gault BAFTA Scotland for Best Actress in a Scottish Film
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actress of the Year

2005 Constantine Angel Gabriel
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Jadis, the White Witch Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress
Broken Flowers Penny
Thumbsucker Audrey Cobb Gijón International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
2006 Stephanie Daley Lydie Crane Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Galapagos Narrator BBC Documentary
2007 Sleepwalkers Violinist working as a Copy Clerk
Strange Culture Hope Kurtz
The Man from London Camélia
Michael Clayton Karen Crowder Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role










2008 Julia Julia Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated — César Award for Best Actress
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actress of the Year

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Jadis, the White Witch
Burn After Reading Katie Cox Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Elizabeth Abbott London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture


2009 The Limits of Control Blonde
I Am Love Emma Recchi in post-production
We Need to Talk About Kevin in pre-production


References

  1. Dewar, Peter Beauclerk, Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain - The Kingdom in Scotland, 19th edition, vol.1, Wilmington, Delaware, 2001, p.1317. ISBN 0-9711966-0-5
  2. Tilda Swinton Biography
  3. "SWINTON: Chart 2B, Sheet 2." Swinton Family Society.org.
  4. Tilda Swinton, one of our most unique actors, talks to Gaby Wood | Magazine | The Observer
  5. Elle 'the muses' Tilda Swinton
  6. 'Tilda Swinton to appear on Wolf's new album
  7. Ballerina Ballroom | Home
  8. About Sandro Kopp
  9. Daily Express: The World's Greatest Newspaper :: Day & Night :: Proud parents but not partners


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