Frances McDormand

Frances McDormand Photo

Adopted by Canadian-born minister Vernon McDormand and his wife, Noreen, Frances McDormand was raised in Monessen, Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in Theater from Bethany College in West Virginia and attended Yale University's School of Drama, where she was awarded the Carol Dye prize for Excellence. It would be the first of many awards for McDormand.

She sees herself as "... a character actress, plain and simple. Who can worry about a career? Have a life! Movie stars have careers. Actors work, and then they don't work, and then they work again."

Frances will long be remembered for her Academy Award-winning performance as Marge, the pregnant police chief in Fargo (1996), directed by her real life husband, Joel Coen. She will also be remembered for her Best Supporting Actress nominations for Mississippi Burning (1988), Almost Famous (2000) and North Country (2005). She also won Best Actress at the Gijon International Film Festival for Laurel Canyon (2002). Frances also often performs on stage, and in 2011, won a Tony award for her work in the Broadway play Good People.

Although constantly in demand, she feels she's known as an actor, not a star—and likes it that way: "I have friends who are movie stars," she says. "And I think it's just as hard a job as being a working actor. But it's a different job, and it's not the one I want."

Some of Frances's other film titles include Friends With Money (2006), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), the voice of Captain Chantel DuBois in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) and Matt Damon's business partner in Promised Land (2013).

For her starring role as a mother whose daughter was murdered in the indie drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Frances won a 2018 Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild award.

In 2020, she starred in the drama Nomadland, which earned her a third Best Actress Oscar. In her speech, which was incredibly short, she just said she liked to work, nothing about the award.

She and her husband have one son, Pedro McDormand Coen, whom they adopted in 1994 from Paraguay.


Nomadland (2020)
Isle of Dogs (2018)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Promised Land (2013)
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) (voice)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
This Must Be the Place (2011)
Burn After Reading (2008)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
Friends with Money (2006)
North Country (2005)
Something's Gotta Give (2003)
City by the Sea (2002)
Laurel Canyon (2002)
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
Almost Famous (2000)
Wonder Boys (2000)
Talk of Angels (1998)
Madeline (1998)
Johnny Skidmarks (1998)
Paradise Road (1997)
Lone Star (1996)
Primal Fear (1996)
Fargo (1996)
Plain Pleasures (1996)
Palookaville (1995)
Beyond Rangoon (1995)
Bleeding Hearts (1994)
Short Cuts (1993)
Passed Away (1992)
The Butcher's Wife (1991)
Darkman (1990)
Hidden Agenda (1990)
Cattahoochee (1989)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Raising Arizona (1987)