Oscar Actors: Weisz, Rachel–Background, Career, Awards, Cumulative Advantage

Rachel Hannah Weisz (born March 7, 1970), the British-American actress is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a British Academy Film Award.

Weisz began acting in British stage and television in the early 1990s, and made her film debut in Death Machine (1994). She won a Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for her role in the 1994 revival of Noël Coward’s play “Design for Living.”

She appeared in the 1999 Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams’ drama “Suddenly, Last Summer.”

Breakthrough Role: The Mummy

Her film breakthrough came with her starring role as Evelyn Carnahan in the Hollywood action films “The Mummy” (1999) and “The Mummy Returns” (2001).

Weisz starred in several films of the 2000s, including “Enemy at the Gates” (2001), “About a Boy” (2002), “Constantine” (2005), “The Fountain” (2006), and “The Lovely Bones” (2009).

For her performance as a murdered activist in the 2005 thriller “The Constant Gardener,” she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

For playing Blanche DuBois in a 2009 revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” she won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress.

In the 2010s, Weisz continued to star in big-budget films such as the action film The Bourne Legacy (2012) and the fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), and garnered critical acclaim for her performances in the independent films The Deep Blue Sea (2011) and The Favourite (2018).

For her portrayal of Sarah Churchill in The Favourite, she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and received a second Oscar nomination.

Weisz was engaged to filmmaker Darren Aronofsky from 2005 to 2010. She married actor Daniel Craig in 2011 and became a naturalised U.S. citizen the same year.

Weisz was born in Westminster, London, and grew up in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Her father, George Weisz is a Hungarian mechanical engineer, and her mother, Edith Ruth, was a teacher-turned-psychotherapist originally from Vienna. Her parents both emigrated to the UK as children around 1938, prior to the outbreak of World War II, in order to escape the Nazis.

George Weisz was from a Jewish family, Edith Weisz’s paternal ancestry was Austrian-Jewish; her maternal ancestry was Viennese. The scholar and social activist James Parkes helped her mother’s family to leave Austria for England. Weisz’s mother was raised in the Catholic church, and formally converted to Judaism upon marrying Weisz’s father. Weisz’s maternal grandfather was Alexander Teich, a Jewish activist who had been a secretary of the World Union of Jewish Students. Her younger sister, Minnie Weisz, is a visual artist.

Weisz’s parents valued the arts and encouraged their children to form opinions of their own by engaging their participation in family debates. Weisz left North London Collegiate School and attended Benenden School for one year, completing A-levels at St Paul’s Girls School.

Modelling at 14

Known for being a so-called “English rose,” Weisz began modelling at the age of 14.

In 1984, she gained public attention when she turned down an offer to star in King David with Richard Gere.

Weisz went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where she read English. She graduated with upper second-class honors. During her university years she was a contemporary of Sacha Baron Cohen, Alexander Armstrong, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc, Richard Osman, and Ben Miller (whom she briefly dated).

She appeared in various student dramatic productions, co-founding a student drama group called Cambridge Talking Tongues. The group won a Guardian Student Drama Award at the 1991 Edinburgh Festival Fringe for an improvised piece called “Slight Possession,” directed by David Farr.