Oscar Actors: Garfield, Andrew (Nominee)–Background, Career, Awards

Andrew Russell Garfield (August 20, 1983) is an American-British actor. An alumnus of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, he is the recipient of various accolades, including a Tony Award and a British Academy Television Award, and has been nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award, an Oscar Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and three British Academy Film Awards.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Epsom, England, Garfield began his career on the UK stage and in television productions.

He made his feature-film debut in the 2007 drama Lions for Lambs. Also that year, his performance in the TV film Boy A earned him a BAFTA for Best Actor.

He came to international attention in 2010 with supporting roles in the drama The Social Network, for which he received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations portraying Eduardo Saverin, and the science-fiction romance Never Let Me Go.

Garfield subsequently gained wider recognition for playing Spider-Man in the 2012 superhero film The Amazing Spider-Man and its 2014 sequel.

In 2016, Garfield starred in historical dramas, Mel Gibson’s war drama Hacksaw Ridge and Martin Scorsese’s religious epic Silence. His portrayal of Desmond T. Doss in the former earned him nominations for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe Award, all for Best Actor.

On stage, Garfield has played Biff in a 2012 Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman starring alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman and directed by Mike Nichols.

For his performance he earned his first nomination for a 2012 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play.

Angels in America

In 2017, Garfield starred as Prior Walter in a production of Angels in America at the Royal National Theatre in London, a role for which he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play.

In 2018, he reprised the role on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre, for which he received Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play in the same year.

Garfield was born in Los Angeles, California. His mother, Lynn (née Hillman), was from Essex, England, and his father, Richard Garfield, is from California. Garfield’s paternal grandparents were also from the UK. Garfield’s parents moved the family from Los Angeles to the UK when he was 3, and he was brought up in Epsom, Surrey.

Garfield is Jewish on his father’s side; Garfield had a secular upbringing, and has referred to himself as “agnostic pantheist,” though he identifies as Jewish. His paternal grandparents were from Jewish immigrant families who moved to London from Poland, Russia and Romania, and the family surname was originally “Garfinkel.”

Garfield’s parents ran a small interior-design business. His mother is also a teaching assistant at a nursery school, and his father became head coach of the Guildford City Swimming Club. He has an older brother who is a doctor.

Garfield was a gymnast and a swimmer during his early years, and was also an avid philatelist. He had originally intended to study business but became interested in acting at the age of 16 when a friend convinced him to take theatre studies at A-level, as they were one pupil short of being able to run the class Garfield attended Priory Preparatory School in Banstead and later City of London Freemen’s School in Ashtead, before training at the Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

Garfield began taking acting classes in Guildford, Surrey, when he was 9, and appeared in a youth theatre production of Bugsy Malone.

He also joined a small youth theatre workshop group in Epsom and took theatre studies at A-level before studying for a further 3 years at a UK conservatoire, the Central School of Speech and Drama. Upon graduating in 2004, he began working primarily in stage acting.

In 2004, he won a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for Best Newcomer for his performance in Kes at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre (where he also played Romeo the year after), and won the Outstanding Newcomer Award at the 2006 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

Garfield made his British TV debut in 2005 appearing in the Channel 4 teen drama Sugar Rush. In 2007, he garnered public attention when he appeared in the series 3 of the BBC’s Doctor Who, in the episodes “Daleks in Manhattan” and “Evolution of the Daleks”. Garfield commented that it was “an honour” to be a part of Doctor Who.

In October 2007, he was named one of Variety’s “10 Actors to Watch“. He made his American film debut in November 2007, playing an American university student in the ensemble drama Lions for Lambs, with co-stars Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, and Robert Redford. “I’m just lucky to be there working on the same project as them, although I don’t really expect to be recognized later by audiences,” Garfield said.

In the Channel 4 drama Boy A, released in November 2007, he portrayed a notorious killer trying to find new life after prison. The role garnered him the 2008 BAFTA Award for Best Actor.

In 2008, he had a minor role in the film The Other Boleyn Girl, and was named one of the Shooting Stars at the Berlin Film Fest.

In 2009, Garfield held supporting roles in the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and the Red Riding TV trilogy.

In 2010, Garfield co-starred opposite Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley in Mark Romanek’s dystopian science-fiction drama Never Let Me Go, an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel of the same name. He said of his character, Tommy D., “There’s a sense of anxiety that runs through these kids, especially Tommy, because he’s so sensory and feeling and animalistic, that’s my perspective of him.” Garfield was attracted to the film based on the existential questions the story expresses.[41] He said the experience of being a part of Never Let Me Go was “just a dream to come true”.[42] He further remarked that the scenes in which his character—unable to contain his frustration—erupts with a wail, were “intense” for him. “I think those screams are inside all of us, I just got a chance to let mine out”.

For his portrayal of a well-meaning, but dim young man caught in a love triangle, he won the 2010 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The same year, Garfield co-starred opposite Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network, a drama based on the founders of Facebook. On his character, Garfield remarked, “No one knows who Eduardo Saverin is, and I don’t either. The fact he’s a real-life human being, breathing on this Earth somewhere, creates a whole new dimension to my approach because you [sic] feel a greater sense of responsibility”.

Initially, the film’s director, David Fincher, had met Garfield under the auspices of him playing Mark Zuckerberg, having been referred to him by Mark Romanek. However, Fincher did not like Garfield for the part as he found Garfield’s “incredible emotional access to his kind of core humanity” better tailored for the role of Saverin. Garfield’s performance was very well received; he earned wider recognition and numerous nominations, including BAFTA nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Rising Star, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance in a Supporting Role.

Spider-Man and career success

Garfield was cast as Spider-Man/Peter Parker, opposite Emma Stone as his love interest Gwen Stacy, in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), a reboot of the Spider-Man film series. Garfield saw his casting as a “massive challenge in many ways”, having to make the character “authentic” and “live and breathe in a new way”. He described Peter as someone he could relate to and stated that the character had been an important influence on him since he was a child. For the role, he studied movements of athletes and spiders, and tried to incorporate them,[63][64] and practices yoga and pilates.

The Amazing Spider-Man earned worldwide total of $752,216,557, and Garfield’s performance was well received.

In March 2012, Garfield made his Broadway theatre debut as Biff Loman in the revival of Death of a Salesman. Garfield was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance. Two years later, Garfield hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live and appeared in a music video for the song “We Exist” by Arcade Fire, playing a trans woman Also in 2014, he co-produced and starred in the 2014 independent drama 99 Homes and reprised the titular role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.[78][79][80] Following a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios to integrate the Spider-Man character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sequels to the latter film were scrapped, and the role was later taken on by Tom Holland in a reboot.[81] Arachnologists Yuri M. Marusik and Alireza Zamani honored Garfield’s portrayal of the role by naming a new species of crevice weaver spider, Pritha garfieldi, after him.

Following a year-long absence from the screen, Garfield had starring roles in two films of 2016, Martin Scorsese’s drama Silence and Mel Gibson’s war film Hacksaw Ridge. In the former, based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel of the same name, Garfield played Sebastião Rodrigues, a Portuguese Jesuit priest in the 17th century who travels to Japan to spread his faith.[84] Garfield spent a year with James Martin studying to be a Jesuit priest and went on a silent retreat in Wales. The film’s arduous principal photography took place in Taiwan and to achieve his character’s physicality, Garfield lost 40 lb.[85] Kate Taylor of The Globe and Mail disliked the film and wrote that Garfield “is sweetly resolute and gently anguished as the missionary Rodrigues but any hope that the actor might elucidate the psychology of philosophical certitude or the pain of religious doubt proves vain”.[86] At the box office, it earned less than half of its $50 million budget.[87][88] Hacksaw Ridge, however, was a commercial success, earning over $175.3 million worldwide.[89] In it, Garfield portrayed Desmond Doss, a combat medic during World War II, who was the first conscientious objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.[90][91] Writing for USA Today, Brian Truitt labelled the film as “brutally intense and elegantly crafted”; he thought that the central role allowed Garfield to bring depth to his career and praised him for portraying Doss with both “simple sweetness” and “steadfast mettle”.[92] He received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Hacksaw Ridge.[93]

2017–present: Angels in America

Garfield played the role of Prior Walter in Tony Kushner’s two-part play Angels in America at the National Theatre, London in the Lyttelton Theatre from April to August 2017, and the performance was broadcast live to cinemas around the world in summer 2017 through the National Theatre Live series. It was directed by Marianne Elliott and co-starred Nathan Lane, James McArdle, Russell Tovey, and Denise Gough. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor.

Garfield’s sole film release of 2017 was the biopic Breathe, in which he portrayed Robin Cavendish, a young man paralyzed by polio. In preparation, he interacted with victims of the disease and collaborated closely with Cavendish’s wife and son.[98] Stephen Dalton of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that despite an exceptional story, the film had glossed over the complexities in Cavendish’s life, and thought that Garfield was “hampered by a role that restricts him to little more than nodding and grinning”.[99] In March 2018, Garfield reprised the role of Prior when the Angels in America production transferred to Broadway for an 18-week limited engagement at the Neil Simon Theatre, alongside a majority of the London cast. He won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance.

The 2018 Cannes Festival marked the premiere of Garfield’s next film, the David Robert Mitchell-directed neo-noir Under the Silver Lake. In it, he played Sam, an unemployed and wayward man who sets out on a journey to find his neighbor who has mysteriously disappeared.

Writing for Vanity Fair, Richard Lawson found Garfield to be “great in the role, doing nimble, subtle bits of physical comedy and teasing out the creepy, menacing side of Sam”. Garfield starred in Gia Coppola’s drama Mainstream, alongside Maya Hawke and Jason Schwartzman, which had its world premiere at the Venice Festival on September 5, 2020.

Garfield will next star in The Eyes of Tammy Faye opposite Jessica Chastain, a drama about the televangelists Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker.[108] He is also attached to portray pianist James Rhodes in James Marsh’s biopic Instrumental.[109] Garfield will also star in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film adaptation of Tick, Tick… Boom!.[110] On November 2020, it was announced that Garfield was attached to star as Charles Ryder in a remake of the 1981 miniseries, Brideshead Revisited, with Luca Guadagnino set to direct.[111] He will star in Dustin Lance Black’s miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven, an adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s book of the same name.[112]

Personal life
Garfield has dual citizenship in the US and the UK. In 2009, he told the Sunday Herald that he “feels equally at home” in both the United States and the United Kingdom and “enjoys having a varied cultural existence”. Garfield customarily gives interviews about his work, but does not publicly discuss details of his private life.

In 2011, Garfield began dating his The Amazing Spider-Man co-star Emma Stone during production of the film. In 2015, they were rumored to have broken up although no formal statement was released.[117][118] When asked about his sexuality, Garfield identified himself as heterosexual but said he has “openness to any impulses that may arise within me at any time.”

In 2011, Garfield became the Ambassador of Sport for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO).

Having completed the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola for Silence, he said how “What was really easy was falling in love with this person, was falling in love with Jesus Christ. That was the most surprising thing.”

In 2019, when asked if he identifies more as American or British, he stated, “I identify more as Jewish than anything… I have a love-hate relationship with both countries and used to be very proud to have both passports. Today, I’m slightly less proud.”[122]


2005 Mumbo Jumbo Simmo Bevan Walsh Short film
2007 Boy A Jack Burridge John Crowley
Lions for Lambs Todd Hayes Robert Redford
2008 The Other Boleyn Girl Francis Weston Justin Chadwick
2009 Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Anton Terry Gilliam
Air Tom Luke Davies Short film
2010 I’m Here Sheldon Spike Jonze Short film
Never Let Me Go Tommy D Mark Romanek
The Social Network Eduardo Saverin David Fincher
2012 Amazing Spider-Man Peter Parker-Spider-Man Marc Webb
2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Peter Parker / Spider-Man Marc Webb
99 Homes Dennis Nash Ramin Bahrani Also producer
2016 Hacksaw Ridge Desmond Doss Mel Gibson
Silence Ft. Sebastião Rodrigues / Okada San’emon, Scorsese
2017 Breathe Robin Cavendish Andy Serkis
2018 Under the Silver Lake Sam David Robert Mitchell
2020 Mainstream Link Gia Coppola Also producer
2021 The Eyes of Tammy Faye Jim Bakker Michael Showalter

Tick, Tick… Boom! Jonathan Larson Lin-Manuel Miranda Post-

2005 Swinging Various roles Episode: “1.1”
2005 Sugar Rush Tom 5 episodes
2006 Simon Schama’s Power of Art: Caravaggio Boy with fruit Episode: “Caravaggio”
2007 Doctor Who Frank Episodes: “Daleks in Manhattan”, “Evolution of the Daleks”
2007 Freezing Kit Episode: “1.1”
2007 Trial & Retribution Martin Douglas Episode: “Closure: Part 1”
2009 Red Riding Eddie Dunford 3 episodes
2011, 2014 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) 2 episodes
2019 RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Himself (guest judge) Episode: “1.1”
TBA Under the Banner of Heaven Pyre Main role, upcoming miniseries
Year Title Role Venue
2004 Mercy Deccy Soho Theatre
2004 Kes Billy Manchester Royal Exchange
2005 The Laramie Project Various characters Sound Theatre
2005 Romeo & Juliet Romeo Montague Manchester Royal Exchange
2006 Beautiful Thing Jamie Sound Theatre
2006 Burn / Chatroom / Citizenship Birdman / Jim / Stephen Royal National Theatre
2006 The Overwhelming Geoffrey UK tour
2012 Death of a Salesman Biff Loman Ethel Barrymore Theatre
2017 Angels in America Prior Walter Royal National Theatre
2017 The Children’s Monologues Teenager bullied by father Carnegie Hall
2018 Angels in America Prior Walter Neil Simon Theatre