Oscar Actors: Mulligan, Carey–Background, Career, Awards

Research in Progress (Feb 15, 2023)
Carey Mulligan Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: No

Nationality: British

Social Class: father hotel manager of Irish descent, mother university lecturer





Teacher/Inspirational Figure:

Radio Debut:

TV Debut:

Stage Debut:

Broadway Debut:

Film Debut:

Breakthrough Role:

Oscar Role:

Other Noms:

Other Awards:

Frequent Collaborator:

Screen Image: character actor

Last Film:

Career Output:

Film Career Span:





Carey Hannah Mulligan (born May 28, 1985) made her professional acting debut on stage in the 2004 Kevin Elyot play Forty Winks at the Royal Court Theatre. Her film debut came with a supporting role in the romantic drama Pride & Prejudice (2005), followed by roles in television, including the drama series Bleak House (2005) and the TV  film Northanger Abbey (2007).

Mulligan made her Broadway debut in the 2008 revival of the Chekhov play The Seagull, which earned her an Ian Charleson Commendation Award.

Mulligan’s breakthrough performance came as a 1960s schoolgirl in the coming-of-age drama film An Education (2009), for which she received the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her leading role in the dystopian romantic drama Never Let Me Go (2010) earned her the BIFA Award for Best Actress. In 2011, she earned further acclaim for her supporting performances in Nicolas Winding Refn’s action drama Drive and Steve McQueen’s erotic drama Shame, the former of which earned her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. In 2013, she starred in Baz Luhrmann’s romantic drama The Great Gatsby and the Coen Brothers’ black comedy-drama Inside Llewyn Davis. In 2015, Mulligan was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in the Broadway revival of David Hare’s Skylight. In 2018, she starred in the Netflix limited series Collateral and in Paul Dano’s directorial film debut Wildlife. In 2020, Mulligan garnered acclaim for her performance in Emerald Fennell’s thriller Promising Young Woman.

Mulligan has been an ambassador for Alzheimer’s Society since 2012, and an ambassador for War Child since 2014. She has been married to singer-songwriter Marcus Mumford since 2012; they have two children together.

Carey Hannah Mulligan was born on 28 May 1985 in London, to Nano (née Booth) and Stephen Mulligan. Her father, a r, is from Llandeilo, Wales. Her parents met while they were both working in a hotel in their twenties.

When Mulligan was 3, her family moved to Germany when her father was hired to manage a hotel there. While living in Germany, she and her brother attended the International School of Düsseldorf. When she was eight, she and her family moved back to England. As a teenager, she was educated at Woldingham School, an independent school in Surrey.

Her interest in acting sparked from watching her brother perform in a school production of The King and I when she was six. During rehearsals, she pleaded with his teachers to let her be in the play. They let her join the chorus.[9] While enrolled in Woldingham School as a teen, she was heavily involved in theatre. She was the student head of the drama department there, performing in plays and musicals, conducting workshops with younger students, and helping put on productions.[10][11]

When she was 16, she attended a production of Henry V starring Kenneth Branagh. His performance emboldened her and reinforced her belief to pursue a career in acting. She wrote a letter to Branagh asking him for advice. “I explained that my parents didn’t want me to act, but that I felt it was my vocation in life,” she said. Branagh’s sister replied: “Kenneth says that if you feel such a strong need to be an actress, you must be an actress.”

Mulligan’s parents disapproved of her acting ambitions and wished for her to attend a university like her brother. At age 17, she applied to three London drama schools instead of the universities she was expected to apply to, but was not invited to attend them.[9] During her final year at Woldingham School, actor/screenwriter Julian Fellowes delivered a lecture at the school on the production of the film Gosford Park. Mulligan briefly talked to him after the lecture and asked him for advice on an acting career. Fellowes tried to dissuade her from the profession and suggested she “marry a lawyer” instead. Undeterred, she later sent Fellowes a letter in which she stated she was serious about acting and that it was her purpose in life.

Several weeks later, Fellowes’s wife Emma invited Mulligan to a dinner she and her husband were hosting for young aspiring actors. It facilitated an introduction between Mulligan and a casting assistant that led to an audition for a role in Pride and Prejudice. She auditioned three times, and was eventually given the role of Kitty Bennet.[9][6][12][13] During her late teens and early twenties, she worked as a pub barmaid and an errand-runner for Ealing Studios between acting jobs.[12][14]

In 2004, Mulligan made her stage debut in the play Forty Winks at the Royal Court Theatre in London.[15][16] She made her film debut the following year in Joe Wright’s 2005 film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Pride & Prejudice, portraying Kitty Bennet alongside Keira Knightley. Later that year, she won the role of orphan Ada Clare in the BAFTA award-winning BBC adaption of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, her television debut.

Among her 2007 projects were My Boy Jack, starring Daniel Radcliffe, and another Jane Austen adaptation, Northanger Abbey, starring Felicity Jones. She rounded out 2007 by appearing in an acclaimed stage revival of The Seagull, in which she played Nina alongside Kristin Scott Thomas and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Daily Telegraph said her performance was “quite extraordinarily radiating'” and The Observer called her “almost unbearably affecting.”[18] While in the middle of the production, she had to have an appendectomy, preventing her from being able to perform for a week.

For her debut Broadway performance in the 2008 American transfer of The Seagull, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, but lost to Angela Lansbury for Blithe Spirit.

In 2007 Mulligan appeared in the Doctor Who episode “Blink”. The episode was unusual in that Mulligan’s character was the protagonist, while the titular character of the Doctor was more in the background. Blink received widespread acclaim and is considered one of the best dramatic episodes of the show. Mulligan won the Constellation Award for Best Female Performance in a 2007 Science Fiction Television Episode.

Her big breakthrough came when, at 24, she was cast in her first leading role as Jenny in the 2009 independent film An Education, directed by Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig and written by Nick Hornby. Over a hundred actresses auditioned for the part, but Mulligan’s audition impressed Scherfig the most. The film and her performance received rave reviews, and she was nominated for an Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, Critics Choice and won a BAFTA Award. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly and Todd McCarthy of Variety both compared her performance to that of Audrey Hepburn. Mulligan was the recipient of the BAFTA Rising Star Award nomination, which is voted on by the British public.[25]

In 2010, she was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, That same year she starred in the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel Never Let Me Go with Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield. She won a British Independent Award for her performance. That same year she starred in the Oliver Stone-directed film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Screened out of competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, it was her first major studio project. Later that year she also provided vocals for the song “Write About Love” by Belle & Sebastian.

She returned to the stage in the Atlantic Theater Company’s off-Broadway play adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Through a Glass, Darkly, from 13 May – 3 July 2011.[30] Mulligan played the central character, a mentally unstable woman, and received glowing praise from reviewers. Ben Brantley wrote that Mulligan’s performance was “acting of the highest order”; he also described her as “extraordinary” and “one of the finest actresses of her generation.”

Mulligan co-starred in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, with Ryan Gosling. The second film was Steve McQueen’s sex-addiction drama Shame, with Michael Fassbender. Both films were major film festival hits. Drive debuted at 2011 Cannes Film Fest and Shame debuted at 2011 Venice Film Fest, both to rave reviews. She was nominated for her second BAFTA award—Best Supporting Actress—for the film Drive which also garnered a total of 4 BAFTA award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. For her performance in Shame, she received critical praise as well as a British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2013, she starred as Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby opposite DiCaprio, which was released in May 2013. Mulligan auditioned for the role of Daisy in late 2010. While attending a Vogue fashion dinner in New York City in November, Baz Luhrmann’s wife, Catherine Martin, told her she had the part. In May 2012, she was a co-chair, alongside Anna Wintour, for the Gatsby-themed 2012 Met Ball Gala.

In 2013, she also starred in Joel and Ethan Coen’s black comedy Inside Llewyn Davis alongside Oscar Isaac, and Justin Timberlake. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews.[38]

In 2014, she starred in the London revival of the play Skylight with Bill Nighy and Matthew Beard, directed by Stephen Daldry, at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End. It won the 2014 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Revival of the Year and was nominated for the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Revival. She followed the production when it transferred to Broadway at the John Golden Theatre in April 2015. The transfer was a massive success. The play won the Tony Award for Best Revival and she earned her first Tony Award Nomination.

In 2015, she starred in Thomas Vinterberg’s film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel Far from the Madding Crowd with Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, and Michael Sheen, as well as Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette with Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson and Meryl Streep.

In 2017, she starred in Netflix’s Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees. The film was met with critical acclaim. The film earned four Academy Award nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay for Rees. The same year she was also cast as Gloria Steinem in the Dee Rees film, An Uncivil War.

In 2018, she starred in Paul Dano’s directorial debut film Wildlife with Jake Gyllenhaal. The film was written by Dano and Zoe Kazan, an adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel of the same name.  Mulligan received a Best Actress Nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards.

Mulligan stepped back into television with her steely performance as a detective inspector in Collateral, a BBC Two limited series, receiving plaudits from American and British critics. Mulligan praised showrunner Sir David Hare for seamlessly accommodating her pregnancy into the script.

Mulligan appeared off Broadway in the solo show, Girls and Boys at the Minetta Lane Theatre. The show was written by Dennis Kelly and directed by Lyndsey Turner. Her performance was praised, with The New York Times calling it “perfection.” While promoting the show on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Mulligan described being injured while the curtain was going down. Bradley Cooper, who was in the audience, visited her backstage and carried her to urgent care.

In 2020, Mulligan starred in Emerald Fennell’s black comedy thriller film Promising Young Woman alongside Bo Burnham, and Alison Brie. Mulligan also served as an executive producer on the film. The film debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival to great acclaim with the website Rotten Tomatoes, having the film’s approval rating of 92% and the critics consensus reading “A boldly provocative, timely thriller, Promising Young Woman is an auspicious feature debut for writer-director Emerald Fennell — and a career highlight for Carey Mulligan.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the film’s release was delayed and was released on 25 December, 2020.

Mulligan starred in the 2021 film The Dig alongside Ralph Fiennes and Lily James about the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo. It was released as a limited release in UK cinemas on 15 January 2021, followed by streaming on Netflix 29 January 2021.

It was announced that Mulligan would star in Bradley Cooper’s second directorial film Maestro about the life of Leonard Bernstein starring Cooper as Bernstein, and Mulligan as Bernstein’s wife Felicia Montealegre and Jeremy Strong as John Gruen. Cooper wrote, “I was struck by Carey ever since I saw her onstage many years ago and I haven’t missed a performance of hers since. I am humbled to be working with such a mammoth talent, as well as such a kind person in Carey.” The film is set to be released on Netflix.

In 2021, it was announced that Mulligan would star in Christos Nikou’s English language debut, Fingernails. Cate Blanchett’s production company, Dirty Films, is set to produce the film.

Mulligan is married to Marcus Mumford, the lead singer of Mumford & Sons. They were childhood pen pals who lost touch and reconnected as adults. A few weeks after wrapping production on the film Inside Llewyn Davis, in which they were both involved, they married on 21 April 2012. They have a daughter, Evelyn Grace, born in September 2015, and a son, Wilfred, born in August 2017.

Mulligan was among the actresses who took part in the Safe Project—each was photographed in the place she feels safest—for a 2010 series to raise awareness of sex trafficking. She donated the Vionnet gown she wore at the 2010 BAFTA to the Curiosity Shop, which sells its donations to raise money for charity.

Mulligan became the ambassador of the Alzheimer’s Society in 2012, with the goal of raising awareness and research funding for Alzheimers and dementia. Her grandmother lived with Alzheimer’s disease for the final 17 years of her life, during which she no longer recognized Mulligan.  She helped host and participated in the 2012 Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk and was one of the sponsored Alzheimer’s Society runners in the 2013 Nike Run to the Beat half-marathon in London.

In 2014, Mulligan became an ambassador for the charity War Child and visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in this role.


2005 Pride & Prejudice Kitty Bennet Joe Wright
2007 And When Did You Last See Your Father? Rachel Anand Tucker
2009 The Greatest Rose Shana Feste
Brothers Cassie Willis Jim Sheridan
Public Enemies Carol Slayman Michael Mann
An Education Jenny Mellor Lone Scherfig
2010 Never Let Me Go Kathy H Mark Romanek
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Winnie Gekko Oliver Stone
2011 Drive Irene Nicolas Winding Refn
Shame Sissy Sullivan Steve McQueen
2013 The Great Gatsby Daisy Buchanan Baz Luhrmann
Inside Llewyn Davis Jean Berkey Joel & Ethan Coen
2015 Far from the Madding Crowd Bathsheba Everdene Thomas Vinterberg
Suffragette Maud Watts Sarah Gavron
2017 Mudbound Laura McAllan Dee Rees
2018 Wildlife Jeanette Brinson Paul Dano
2020 Promising Young Woman Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas Emerald Fennell Also executive producer
A Christmas Carol Belle (voice) Jacqui Morris
2021 The Dig Edith Pretty Simon Stone