Emily Watson was born and raised in London, the daughter of Katharine (Venables), an English teacher, and Richard Watson, an architect. After a self-described sheltered upbringing, Watson attended university for three years in Bristol, studying English literature.
Emily Watson was born and raised in London, the daughter of Katharine (Venables), an English teacher, and Richard Watson, an architect. After a self-described sheltered upbringing, Watson attended university for three years in Bristol, studying English literature. She applied to drama school and was rejected on her first attempt. After three years of working in clerical and waitress jobs she was finally accepted. In 1992, she took a position with the Royal Shakespeare Company where she met her future husband, Jack Waters. Continuing stage work, Watson landed her first screen role as Bess McNeill in Breaking the Waves (1996) after Helena Bonham Carter pulled out of the role. For this initial foray into movies, Watson was nominated for an Academy Award. She continued to gain success in Britain in the leading roles in Metroland (1997) and The Mill on the Floss (1997), but her first popular film in the United States came in 1997 when she played Daniel Day-Lewiss long-suffering love interest in The Boxer (1997). In the next two years she won critical acclaim for her portrayal of cellist Jacqueline du Pré in Hilary and Jackie (1998) and landed a small part in the ensemble cast of Tim Robbinss Cradle Will Rock (1999). Critical acclaim and North American success came together for Watson in 1999 with the release of Angelas Ashes (1999), the film adaptation of Frank McCourts bestselling book of the same name. She achieved top billing as Angela McCourt, the hardworking mother of several children and wife of a drunken husband in depression-era Ireland. After less-celebrated roles in 2000s Trixie (2000) and The Luzhin Defence (2000), Watson again returned to an ensemble cast in Robert Altmans Gosford Park (2001).