Kate Winslet comes from a family of actors: her parents, grandparents, and uncle all spent their lives on the stage. She took acting classes as a child, and became a well-spoken, bright-eyed child actress in BBC TV series such as Dark Season (1991) and Casualty (1993), before director Peter Jackson cast her as Juliet Hulme, one half of the murderous yet innocent teen duo of Heavenly Creatures (1994).
She then became a fixture in corset roles in literary adaptations such as Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1995), which won her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress; Sue Bridehead in Jude (1996); and Ophelia in Hamlet (1996). Then director James Cameron gave her the full, old movie star entrance, under a fabulous hat, as the leading lady opposite the baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio in the box-office smash hit Titanic (1997). It won her a second Oscar nod, this time for Best Actress.
Being in the most successful film of all time didn’t derail Winslet, although she started playing louder, less victimized ladies such as the lead, Iris Murdoch, in the biopic Iris (2001), which won her another Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also turned to playing an odd, irresponsible, kooky hippie in Hideous Kinky (1998), among more costume dramas such as Quills (2000).
She is at her best in a very complex role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), playing a woman fascinating enough to fall for but irritating enough to need wiping from the memory. The performance won her another Oscar nomination. She received her fifth, and most recent, Oscar nomination for Little Children (2006). Winslet’s many admirers eagerly anticipate the time when she finally takes home the well-deserved statuette.