In 1996, Emily Watson burst onto cinema screens in Lars von Trier’s audacious Breaking the Waves with a bold and immersive knockout performance. Watson played Bess, a kind and devout woman living in a highly orthodox religious community in the Scottish Highlands in the early ’70s who goes to unusual lengths to secure her husband’s fate. She received numerous accolades and was deservedly nominated for an Academy Award.
The following year she appeared opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Jim Sheridan’s highly underrated The Boxer which dealt with the conflict in Belfast. Three years later, she was again Oscar-nominated for her for her searing work as cellist Jacqueline du Pré in Anand Tucker’s Hilary and Jackie.
Her subsequent film career is chock full of eclectic leading and supporting roles in Cradle Will Rock, Gosford Park, Punch-Drunk Love, Red Dragon, Separate Lies, Wah-Wah, Within the Whirlwind, Oranges and Sunshine, The Book Thief, The Theory of Everything, and The Happy Prince.
Watson has also made an indelible TV impression, garnering an Emmy nomination for HBO’s Chernobyl in 2019 and a BAFTA nod for Too Close in 2021. Other significant television roles include The Mill on the Floss, Appropriate Adult, The Dresser, Apple Tree Yard, and The Third Day.
Her new film God’s Creatures, set in a small fishing village in Ireland, is a timely and disturbing look at a mother who must choose between her intense love for her beloved son and her growing sense of what is right.
A24’s God’s Creatures is in select theaters and available on demand on September 30, 2022.
Awards Daily had the privilege of chatting with Emily about her amazing career so far.