Sweet and Lowdown
“People seem to have been most affected by my performances when they've been a bit quirky, like Hattie in Sweet and Lowdown. People have fallen in love with her, with her sincerity, or for their own reasons. Hopefully these roles will come to me more now. It’s hard to get things that are very well written.” Samantha Morton
One of British finest actresses of her generation, Samantha Morton nabbed two Academy Awards nominations for her roles in Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown (1999), where she also won a London Critics Circle Film Award, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award and a Golden Globe nod for her scene-stealing turn of mute laundress Hattie, and in Jim Sheridan’s In America (2002), as an Irish refugee. Receiving her initial breakthrough with the starring role of Iris Kelley in Under the Skin (1997), in which her great acting earned Morton such awards as a Gijón International Film Festival Award, an Angers European First Film Festival Award and a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, the major performer went on to attract the attention of public with the outstanding starring turn of the tenacious Eva in Dreaming of Joseph Lees (1999), for which she received a London Evening Standard Award, a Verona Love Screens Film Festival Award as well as an Evening Standard British Film Award. In more recent films, Morton achieved a number of accolades and is recognized internationally for portraying the precog Agatha in Steven Spielberg's Minority Report (2002, starring Tom Cruise). In Morvern Callar (2002), the Oscar nominee was garnered the Best Actress Awards from the Toronto Film Critics Association and The British Independent Film for outstandingly playing the film’s title character.
Romantically, the brown-haired, blue-eyed beauty dated actor Hans Matheson (born on August 7, 1975) in 1995 and they broke up two years later. She then was involved with British actor Charlie Creed-Miles (born on March 24, 1972) and welcomed a daughter named Esme Creed-Miles (born in 2000), with him. Shortly after the birth, the two decided to part ways. Morton now becomes engaged with filmmaker Harry Holm, the son of actor Ian Holm, after he astonished her with an engagement ring on Morton’s 29th birthday.
Childhood and Family:
The daughter of Peter and Pamela Morton, Samantha Morton was born on May 13, 1977, in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, to a working class family. Her parents separated when she was three years old and both remarried. She has eight brothers and sisters, and is the mother of a six-year-old girl named Esme Creed-Miles (born on February 5, 2000), from relationship with British actor Charlie Creed-Miles.
“It started when I was seven or eight, in school. I had a brilliant teacher and it was the highlight of my day to write little plays with somebody or perform in front of the class. I had so much energy as a kid, as well, it was a way of keeping me occupied, my parents thought. It just went on from there; if you really enjoy something you can feel complete when you’re doing it.” Samantha Morton
Turning to play-acting early in her life, Samantha departed the school West Bridgford Comprehensive at age 13 and joined Central Junior Television Workshop in Nottingham, England. Upon completing a three-year-training, she made her way to London to further chase her dream of becoming an actress.
“I remember when I was 16 and I decided, that’s it, this is my career now. So I got myself an agent. Fortunately, I started getting parts.” Samantha Morton
13-year-old Samantha Morton left regular school to train as an actress at the England’s Central Junior Television Workshop and, by age 16, she had chosen acting as her professional career. While a trainee, young Morton found early work on TV such as guest starred in an episode of “Boon” (1991), appeared as the daughter of a sergeant in drama series “Soldier Soldier” (1991) and acted in TV film The Token King (1993). She quit the workshop at age 16 and became the member of the theater group The Royal Court.
A year later, Morton won acclaimed for her fine efforts in a production of “Ashes and Sand,” along side Melissa Wilson and Susan Lynch. The same year, she got her first TV breakthrough as Joanne Barnes, a teenaged girl permeated by the lead of a religious cult in one episode of the British crime drama “Cracke” (1994). She followed it up with a role as a bothered teen call girl haunted by a serial killer in the miniseries “Band of Gold” (1995, aired in the USA on HBO), before delivering a series of winning portrayals in TV films, including as the gracefully innocent Harriet Smith in Jane Austen’s Emma (1997) and as an especially stem Sophia Western in the miniseries version of “The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” (1997). She also took on the title role in the BBC/A&E production film Jane Eyre (1997).
Already making a reputation for herself as a proficient small screen actress, Morton made the leap to the wide screen film with an auspicious debut as Iris Kelley, an engaging and deprived girl who twists into self-caustic sexual encounters after the death of her mother in the 1997 drama Under the Skin (released in the USA in 1998). With such critically-lauded and powerful performance, she won a Gijón International Film Festival, an Angers European First Film Festival and a Boston Society of Film Critics for Best Actress. The same year, she was also seen opposite Richard Harris and Gabriel Byrne in the Irish-produced film This Is the Sea.
The gifted actress continued to boost up her profile in the following years with the Academy Award-nominating performance of unspeaking laundress Hattie in a Woody Allen delightful period piece, Sweet and Lowdown (1999, starred Sean Penn). The role also handed her a 2001 London Critics Circle Film for British Supporting Actress of the Year, a 2002 Chicago Film Critics Association for Most Promising Actress and a Golden Globe nod for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Morton scored another victory when director Eric Stylesshe cast her in the starring role of pigheaded Eva in Dreaming of Joseph Lees (1999). For her brilliant turn as a 19950 young woman who torn between her love for her disabled cousin (Rupert Graves) and her responsibility to her mentally unstable common law husband (Lee Ross), she netted the Best Actress Award from the London Evening Standard, the Verona Love Screens Film Festival as well as the Evening Standard British Film. In addition to the high-profile roles, the demanding actress also showed off her adaptability by undertaking the supporting turn of a drug addict in the festival-screened Jesus’ Son (1999, released in America in 2000), opposite Billy Crudup. She rounded out the decade with a small role as a detainee kidnapped by two bungling thieves in the comedy The Last Yellow, along side Mark Addy and Charlie Creed-Miles.
After roles in Julien Temple’s Pandemonium (2000, as a hoping Sara Coleridge) and Eden (2001, as Sam), Morton took home a Toronto Film Critics Association for Best Performance and a British Independent Film for Best Actress after portraying the title character of director Lynn Ramsay’s Morvern Callar (2002), opposite Kathleen McDermott. Still in 2002, Morton gained international recognition with her award-winning, supporting turn as Agatha, one of the triumvirate of precognitives who predict future murders, in the Tom Cruise vehicle Minority Report. The Steven Speilberg-directed action drama was a box office hit, and Morton picked up such awards as a Saturn and an Online Film Critics Society for Best Supporting Actress, and an Empire Best for British Actress. The attractive player took home a second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress, as well as an Independent Spirit nod for her strong portrayal of an Irish immigrant named Sarah in writer-director Jim Sheridan’s emotionally fascinating and autobiographical film In America (2002).
Morton has since appeared in a number of movies, including the futuristic love story Code 46 (2003, with Tim Robbins), the thriller Enduring Love (2004, costarred with Daniel Craig and Rhys Ifans), the drama River Queen (2005, along side Kiefer Sutherland) and the family film Lassie (2005). Recently, she provided her voice for Sonia in director Christopher Nielsen’s animated feature Free Jimmy (2006).
The 29-year-old performer will soon star as Claire, along side Jason Patric, Teri Garr and Illeana Douglas, in the comedy Expired (2006). She is now in negation to star in the British comedy/drama Mister Lonely (2006), and completing a television film for Channel 4 titled Longford (2006), in which she will portray Moors Killer, Myra Hindley. Morton is also set to star opposite Alexandra Maria Lara in a black and white color biopic film, Control (2006) for director Anton Corbijn, and have a supporting part, as Mary - Queen of Scots, in the British drama The Golden Age, which is for a 2007 release.
- Empire: Best British Actress, Minority Report, 2003
- Online Film Critics Society: Best Supporting Actress, Minority Report, 2003
- Saturn: Best Supporting Actress, Minority Report, 2003
- Toronto Film Critics Association: Best Performance - Female, Morvern Callar, 2003
- British Independent Film: Best Actress, Morvern Callar, 2002
- Chicago Film Critics Association: Most Promising Actress, Sweet and Lowdown, 2002
- London Critics Circle Film: British Supporting Actress of the Year, Sweet and Lowdown, 2001
- Evening Standard British Film: Best Actress, Dreaming of Joseph Lees, 2000
- Verona Love Screens Film Festival: Best Actress, Dreaming of Joseph Lees, 2000
- London Evening Standard: Best Actress, Dreaming of Joseph Lees, 1999
- Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Actress, Under the Skin, 1998
- Angers European First Film Festival: Jean Carment Award, Under the Skin, 1998
- Gijón International Film Festival: Best Actress, Under the Skin, 1997