Michelle Williams is an Oscar-nominated American actress known for her roles in movies such as ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘Blue Valentine’, ‘Shutter Island’ and ‘My Week with Marilyn’. Her career began at a young age with guest roles in various TV shows. She first gained attention for her role in ‘Dawson’s Creek’ a teen drama series. She also earned appreciation for her role in the romantic drama film ‘Brokeback Mountain’. Directed by Ang Lee, the film did well commercially and earned Williams her first nomination for the Academy Award. She next appeared in lead roles in movies such as ‘Wendy and Lucy’ after which she starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the psychological thriller ‘Shutter Island’. By choosing to play troubled women with psychological issues in many of her films, the actress has earned critical acclaim for her unconventional choice of roles. In her career so far, she has won several awards and nominations which include four Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations, as well as five Golden Globe nominations, out of which she had won one.
Childhood & Early Life
Michelle Williams was born on 9th September 1980 in Kalispel, Montana in the US. Her father Larry R Williams is an author and a commodities trader while her mother Carla Ingrid is a homemaker. She is of Norwegian descent. She has one younger sister and three half-siblings.
She grew up in Montana though the family later moved to San Diego. She developed an interest in acting at a very early age and she performed in a local play named ‘Annie’. She eventually played a guest role in the popular TV series ‘Baywatch’.
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Michelle Williams made her film debut with a supporting role in the 1994 film ‘Lassie’. It was directed by Daniel Petre. She went on to appear in movies, such as ‘Timemaster’, (1995) ‘Species’ (1995), ‘A Thousand Acres’ (1997), and ‘Perfume’ (2001). She started gaining popularity after her role in the TV series ‘Dawson’s Creek’ which aired from 1998 to 2003.
She next appeared in movies such as ‘Land of Plenty’ and ‘Imaginary Friends’. In 2005, she reached the peak of her career after she played a supporting role in the film ‘Brokeback Mountain’. The film received critical acclaim and was also a huge success commercially. Directed by Ang Lee, the film was nominated for eight Oscars, winning three. It also earned Williams her first Oscar nomination in the category of ‘Best Actress’.
After appearing in movies such as ‘I’m Not There’ (2007) and ‘Mammoth’ (2009), she earned her second Oscar nomination for her role in the romantic drama film ‘Blue Valentine’ in 2010. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, the film was a commercial success.
She starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in the psychological thriller ‘Shutter Island’ in 2010. The film was a huge success commercially. Although the film didn’t receive any significant awards, it is still regarded as one of the best psychological thriller movies ever.
In 2011, Williams portrayed Marilyn Monroe in the drama film ‘My Week with Marilyn.’ Directed by Simon Curtis, the film was about the making of the 1957 film ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. The film did well commercially, and was met with positive reviews. It earned Williams her third Oscar nomination in the ‘Best Actress’ category. She also won the Golden Globe in the same category.
Her next important role on the big screen was in the 2013 film ‘Oz the Great and the Powerful’. Directed by Sam Raimi, the movie was a commercial success. Critical reception was mixed. It won multiple awards as well. She earned her fourth Oscar nomination for her role in ‘Manchester by the Sea,’ where she starred alongside Casey Affleck. The film was a commercial success and earned multiple Oscar nominations.
In 2017, she played one of the main roles in the musical film ‘The Greatest Showman’, which was directed by Michael Gracey. The film was a huge success commercially, earning more than $433 million on an $84 million budget. The same year, she played the lead role in the crime thriller ‘All the Money in the World’. The film wasn’t a huge financial success though it was met with positive reviews and received multiple Oscar nominations.
Her on-stage roles include her performances in the revivals of ‘Cabaret’ in 2014 and ‘Blackbird’ in 2016. She earned a Tony Award nomination for the latter. Her most recent work on the big screen was her role in the 2018 comedy film ‘I Feel Pretty’. The film was a commercial success and received mixed reviews.
‘Brokeback Mountain’ is one of Michelle Williams’ most successful and acclaimed works. Directed by Ang Lee, the movie also starred actors such as Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Linda Cardellini and Anne Hathaway. The film was a huge success commercially, earning nearly $180 million on a $14 million budget. It was also praised by the critics. It was nominated for eight Oscars, out of which it won three: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score. Williams also earned an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actress’.
‘Shutter Island,’ a 2010 psychological thriller, is another one of Williams’ best known works and commercially successful movies. The movie starred Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role; he played a US Marshall Edward Daniels, who is investigating a psychiatric facility for a missing patient. Williams played his deceased wife, appearing through flashbacks and dreams. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the movie did well at the box office and received favorable reviews. The National Board of Review chose the film as one of the top ten movies of the year.
More recently, she played one of the main roles in the 2016 drama film ‘Manchester by the Sea’. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, the movie also starred Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges. It did well commercially, earning nearly $80 million on an $8.5 million budget. It was also praised by the critics and nominated for multiple Academy Awards.
Michelle Williams dated actor Heath Ledger for three years but they broke up shortly before his death. The couple had a daughter who was born in 2005. She was named Matilda.
She dated Spike Jonze from 2008 to 2009.
Besides acting, she is also the face of multiple brands. She became the face of Louis Vuitton handbags in 2013, Louis Vuitton jewelry collection in 2014, and Louis Vuitton sunglasses collection in 2017.