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Constellation Award

Emma Watson

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson (born 15 April 1990) is a French-born British actress who rose to prominence playing Hermione Granger, one of three starring roles in the Harry Potter film series. Watson was cast as Hermione at the age of nine, having acted only in school plays. From 2001 to 2007, she starred in five Harry Potter film instalments alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. She will return for the final two instalments: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, due to be released in 2009, and the two parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Watson's work in the Harry Potter series has earned her several awards and more than £10 million.

In 2007, Watson announced her involvement in two non-Harry Potter productions: the made-for-television adaptation of the novel Ballet Shoes and an animated film, The Tale of Despereaux. Ballet Shoes was broadcast on Boxing Day 2007 to an audience of 5.2 million and The Tale of Despereaux, based on the book by Kate DiCamillo, will be released in 2008.

Early life

Emma Watson was born in Paris, France, daughter of Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, English lawyers. Watson has one French grandmother, and lived in Paris until the age of five, before she moved with her mother and younger brother Alex to Oxford, England, following her parents' divorce.

From the age of six, Watson expressed a desire to become an actress. By 10, she had starred in school plays, including Arthur: The Young Years and The Happy Prince. She had never acted professionally before the Harry Potter series. "I had no idea of the scale of the film [series]", she said in a 2007 interview with Parade magazine; "[if I had] I would have been completely overwhelmed".

Career

Harry Potter

In 1999, casting began for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States), the film adaptation of British author J. K. Rowling's bestselling novel. Of importance to the casting directors were the lead role of Harry Potter and the two supporting roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, Harry's two friends. Casting agents found Watson through her Oxford theatre teacher, and producers were impressed by her confidence. After eight auditions, producer David Heyman told Watson and fellow applicants Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint that they had been cast as Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Rowling was said to support Watson from her first screen test.

Watson's debut as Hermione came in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The film broke records for opening-day sales and opening weekend takings and was the highest-grossing film of 2001. Critics praised the performances of the three leads, often singling out Watson for particular acclaim. The Daily Telegraph called her performance "admirable", and IGN said she "stole the show". Watson was nominated for five awards for her performance in Philosopher's Stone, winning the Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress.

A year later, Watson again starred as Hermione in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second instalment of the series. Though the film received mixed reviews because of its pace and direction, critics were positive about the performances. The Los Angeles Times said Watson and her peers had matured between films, while The Times criticised director Chris Columbus for "under-employing" Watson's hugely popular character. Watson received an Otto Award from the German magazine Die Welt for her performance. In 2004, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released. Watson was appreciative of the more assertive role Hermione played, calling her character "charismatic" and "a fantastic role to play". Although critics turned away from Radcliffe's acting talent, labelling him wooden, Watson continued to be praised; The New York Times lauded her performance, saying "Luckily Mr. Radcliffe's blandness is offset by Ms. Watson's spiky impatience. Harry may show off his expanding wizardly skills ... but Hermione ... earns the loudest applause with a decidedly unmagical punch to Draco Malfoy's deserving nose". Although Prisoner of Azkaban remains the lowest-grossing Harry Potter film as of January 2008, Watson's personal performance won her two Otto Awards and the Child Performance of the Year award from Total Film.

With Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), both Watson and the Harry Potter film series reached new milestones. The film set records for a Harry Potter opening weekend, a non-May opening weekend in the US, and an opening weekend in the UK. Critics praised the increasing maturity of Watson and her teenage co-stars; the New York Times called her performance "touchingly earnest". For Watson, much of the humour of the film sprang from the tension among the three lead characters as they matured. She said, "I loved all the arguing ... I think it's much more realistic that they would argue and that there would be problems." Nominated for three awards for Goblet of Fire, Watson won a bronze Otto Award. Later that year, Watson became the youngest person to appear on the cover of Teen Vogue. 2006 found Watson playing Hermione in The Queen's Handbag, a special mini-episode of Harry Potter in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday.

The fifth film in the Harry Potter franchise, 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was a financial success, setting a record worldwide, opening-weekend gross of $333 million. Watson won the inaugural National Movie Award for Best Female Performance. As the fame of the actress and the series continued, Watson and fellow Harry Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint left imprints of their hands, feet, and wands in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood on 9 July 2007.

Work outside Harry Potter

Watson's first non-Harry Potter role was in the 2007 TV film Ballet Shoes. She played Pauline Fossil. She said of the project, "I was all set to go back to school after finishing Harry Potter [and the Order of the Phoenix] but couldn't resist Ballet Shoes. I really loved it". A BBC adaptation of Noel Streatfeild's novel of the same name, the film stars Watson as aspiring actress Pauline Fossil, the eldest of three sisters around whom the story revolves. Director Sandra Goldbacher commented, "Emma was perfect for Pauline ... She has a piercing, delicate aura that makes you want to gaze and gaze at her". Ballet Shoes was broadcast on Boxing Day in the United Kingdom, to an estimated audience of 5.2 million (22 percent of the viewing total). The film received generally poor critical reviews, and The Times described it as "progress[ing] with little emotional investment, or magic, or dramatic momentum". However, the performances of its cast were generally praised; The Daily Telegraph wrote the film "was certainly well done, not least because it confirmed how good child actors are these days".

Watson will star in the animated film The Tale of Despereaux, released in December 2008. She will voice the character of Princess Pea in the film, a children's comedy which also stars Matthew Broderick and Tracey Ullman.

In June 2008, Watson signed a contract, reported to be worth £3 million, to advertise with Chanel, a prominent French fashion house. She will become the public face of Coco Mademoiselle, one of the label's perfumes, replacing Keira Knightley.

Future plans

Despite rumours that she had refused the final two Harry Potter installments, Watson signed for the sixth and seventh films in March 2007. She explained the decision was tough as filming would continue to dominate her life for three to four years, but in the end "the pluses outweighed the minuses". Filming for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film, began in late 2007. Although Radcliffe and Grint have confirmed their commitment to acting, Watson has expressed uncertainty about her future. Speaking to Newsweek in 2006, she said, "Daniel and Rupert seem so sure ... I love to perform, but there are so many other things I love doing.

Personal life

Watson's extended family has grown as her divorced parents both have children by new partners. Her father has identical twin girls, Nina and Lucy, and a four-year old son, Toby. Her mother's partner has two sons (Emma's stepbrothers), who "regularly stay with [her]". Watson's full brother, Alexander, has appeared as an extra in two Harry Potter films, and her half-sisters were cast as the young Pauline Fossil in the BBC's Ballet Shoes adaptation.

After moving to Oxford with her mother and brother, Watson attended The Dragon School, an independent preparatory school, until June 2003 and then moved to Headington School, an independent school for girls, also in Oxford. While on film sets, Watson and her peers were tutored for up to five hours a day; despite the focus on filming she maintained high academic standards. In June 2006, Watson took GCSE examinations in 10 subjects, achieving eight A* and two A grades; she was a target of friendly ridicule on the Harry Potter set because of her straight-A exam results. The following year she received four A grades in her AS levels (advanced level examinations) in English, Geography, Art, and History of Art.

Watson's work in the Harry Potter series has brought her more than £10 million, and she has acknowledged she will never have to work for money. However, she has declined to quit school to become a full-time actress, saying "People can’t understand why I don’t want to ... but school life keeps me in touch with my friends. It keeps me in touch with reality". She has been positive about working as a child actress, saying her parents and colleagues helped make her experience happy. Watson enjoys a close friendship with her fellow Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, describing them as a "unique support system" for the stresses of film work.

Watson lists her interests as dancing, singing, field hockey, tennis, art, fly fishing, and donates to WTT (Wild Trout Trust). She describes herself as "a bit of a feminist", and admires fellow actors Johnny Depp and Julia Roberts.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Hermione Granger Released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Ballet Shoes Pauline Fossil Television film shown on BBC One
2008 The Tale of Despereaux Princess Pea Voice part
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Hermione Granger Scheduled for release 17 July 2009
2010 LA Times has confirmed production
2011

Awards

Year Organisation Award Film Result
2002 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award
Empire Empire Award
American Moviegoer Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress
Young Artist Awards Best Ensemble in Feature Film
2003 Otto Awards Best Female Film Star (Silver) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2004 Otto Awards Best Female Film Star (Silver) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Total Film Child Performance of the Year
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Actress
2005 Otto Awards Best Female Film Star (Gold)
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Actress Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2006 Otto Awards Best Female Film Star (Bronze)
MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Team
2007 ITV National Film Awards Best Female Performance Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
UK Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Best Movie Actress
2008 UK Sony Ericsson Empire Awards Best Actress
Constellation Award Best Female Performance
Otto Awards Best Female Film Star (Gold)
SyFy Genre Awards Best Actress
Glamour Awards Best UK TV Actress Ballet Shoes

References

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