Kelly Macdonald (born 23 February 1976) is a Scottish actress, known for her role in the 1996 independent film Trainspotting. Her other films include Gosford Park (2001), Intermission (2003), Nanny McPhee (2005), No Country for Old Men (2007), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows â" Part 2 (2011), and Brave (2012). For her role in the 2005 TV film The Girl in the CafÃ©, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. Other television roles include State of Play (2003) and Boardwalk Empire (2010â"14).
Macdonald's career began while she was working as a barmaid in Glasgow. She saw a leaflet advertising an open casting session for Trainspotting and decided to audition, winning the part of Diane, the underage seductress to Ewan McGregor's Renton. Other roles include Mary O'Neary in Two Family House and an actress playing Peter Pan in Finding Neverland. She had major roles in Robert Altman's British period piece Gosford Park, where she played an aristocrat's maid, as well as in Intermission (2003), as Deirdre.
On radio, she portrayed Mary in the 1999 BBC radio drama Lifehouse, based on Pete Townshend's abandoned rock opera, some of the songs for which were released on The Who's album Who's Next. On television, her highest profile roles have been in two BBC dramas, the Paul Abbott serial State of Play (2003) and the one-off Richard Curtis piece The Girl in the CafÃ© (2005). Both of these were directed by David Yates, and both also starred Bill Nighy. For her performance in The Girl in the CafÃ©, She was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2006, and won the Primetime Emmy Award.
Macdonald starred in the 2005 film Nanny McPhee, as the scullery maid Evangeline, and has since had supporting roles in A Cock and Bull Story (2006) and the Coen brothers' Academy Award-winning No Country for Old Men (2007). Her agent was originally unsure she was right for the latter part, and Macdonald is reported as having to "fight for the role". Her persistence paid off, however, as she was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress.
Other films where she had supporting roles include Choke (2008), as Paige Marshall, the film adapted by Clark Gregg from the 2001 Chuck Palahniuk novel; In the Electric Mist (2009) (based on James Lee Burke's In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead (1993), as Kelly Drummond, alongside Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman; and Skellig (2009), as Louise. She played the lead in The Merry Gentleman (2008), as Kate Frazier. She plays Margaret Schroeder on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
In 2010, she played her first comedy role, in the British independent romantic comedy film The Decoy Bride. The Decoy Bride was released in 2012.
In 2011, she played the "Grey Lady" (revealed to be Helena Ravenclaw) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows â" Part 2, the final instalment of the Harry Potter film franchise. She replaced Nina Young, the original actress in the role. In 2012, she provided the voice of Merida, the heroine of the Disney/Pixar movie Brave and starred as Dolly in Anna Karenina.
Since 2010, she has starred in the HBO crime drama Boardwalk Empire, as Margaret Thompson, wife of Prohibition-era Atlantic City crime boss Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi). In 2011, she and the rest of the show's cast was awarded the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Macdonald was born in Glasgow. Her mother was a garment industry sales executive. In August 2003, Macdonald married musician Dougie Payne, bassist of rock band Travis. The couple has two children.
Awards and nominations
- Kelly Macdonald at the TCM Movie Database
- Kelly Macdonald at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Kelly Macdonald in Skellig on Sky1, Easter 2009