Light Mode

Frances McDormand is still the G.O.A.T., 3 decades and 3 Oscar wins later

Frances McDormand is an actress that has made a career out of going her own way. She has a passionate fan base and has cultivated a successful acting career of nearly four decades. One of the most talented leading ladies in Hollywood, Frances McDormand movies include Fargo, Three Billboards and the 2021 Academy Award Best Picture winner Nomadland

While Frances McDormand’s characters are all so vastly different, she has a talent for making them her own and entices you to keep watching. She is a three-time Oscar winner and seven-time Academy Award nomineeand her success in Hollywood knows no bounds. So who is Frances McDormand and how did she reach such abundant success?

Who exactly is Frances McDormand?

Frances McDormand was born Cynthia Ann Smith in Chicago in 1957. She was one of three adopted children, and throughout her childhood she moved from one small town to the next, traveling through Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. She received a master’s degree from Yale School of Drama and began an onstage career shortly after graduating. Here is where she met her good friend Holly Hunter, and they lived together as their careers began to take off. 

- Advertisement -

Frances McDormand’s earliest on-screen performance was in the Coen Brothers directorial debut Blood Simple. It was at the audition where Frances McDormand met her now-husband, Joel Coen. She auditioned for the character Abby and initially said “no” to the role, which made the Coen Brothers even more eager to have her in the film. She eventually agreed and went on to act in Coen Brothers films like Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Fargo, and Burn After Reading. 

Frances McDormand, who mostly lives a private life off-screen, spoke with the New York Times about her relationship with Joel Coen, saying “It was a revelation that I could have a lover who I could also work with and I wasn’t intimidated by the person.”

The two have 38 years of marriage under their belt, building a family and working together on some pretty incredible films. There is no doubt that every movie that the Coen Brothers and Frances McDormand touch becomes an instant classic.

It is a known fact that Frances McDormand’s movies and TV shows are ALWAYS amazing, and these roles prove that she is the G.O.A.T.

Frances McDormand Movies: Blood Simple 

Blood Simple was the first Coen Brothers film and the first on-screen performance by Frances 

McDormand. She plays Abby, the wife of Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya), in a neo-noir crime drama following a Texas bartender navigating his way through a murder plot after he is found having an affair.

- Advertisement -

Blood Simple is deemed a noir masterpiece, balancing crime, violence, and humor so perfectly. 

This film put Frances McDormand on the map in Hollywood and solidified her stance as an actress who holds her own. 

Watch the Coen Brothers’ debut film and Frances McDormand’s first movie on HBO Max. 

Frances McDormand Movies: Mississippi Burning 

Voted one of the top films of 1988, Mississippi Burning has received praise for its writing, editing, sound, and cinematography. The film is a historical crime thriller following a 1964 investigation on three missing civil rights activists. 

- Advertisement -

This film was an early career highlight for Frances McDormand, who plays Mrs. Pell, a local hairdresser and abused wife of a Deputy Sheriff, Clinton Pell (Brad Dourif). Frances McDormand’s performance is poignant and she stands her own moral ground in the film. Her character’s monologue demonstrates this sentiment, “Hatred isn’t something you’re born with. It gets taught.” 

Watch Mississippi Burning on Amazon with Cinemax.

Frances McDormand Movies: Almost Famous

The film Almost Famous serves as a sweet slice of nostalgia, and the fact that Frances McDormand is in it makes it that much sweeter. 

She plays Elaine Miller, the mother of a young journalist touring with a rock band. Her character is utterly uncool in almost every way and gives off the ultimate overprotective mom energy. Her son William (Patrick Fugit), gets an opportunity to write with Rolling Stone and Elaine simply can’t handle it. Although Frances McDormand’s part was small, she owned every scene she was in, especially her phone conversation with rockstar Russel Hammond where she says, “It’s not too late for you to become a person of substance, Russell.”

I especially resonate with Frances McDormand’s character because she reminds me of my mother: strict, overprotective, scary at times, but extremely loving. Frances McDormand received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Elaine Miller and she will forever be our favorite on-screen mom. 

Watch Frances McDormand in Almost Famous on Apple TV.

Frances McDormand Movies: Burn After Reading 

In every Coen Brothers movie, Frances McDormand truly gives her all to the character, especially in Burn After Reading. Frances McDormand plays an aging, dopey gym caretaker alongside Brad Pitt and they both stumble upon classified information from the CIA. 

This leads to them accidentally becoming involved in a web of conspiracies with analyst Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) and Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney). Frances McDormand had fun with the performance and showed she was able to play a loose and funny character. 

For all the Real Housewives of New York stans out there, this Twitter user has a point. 

Watch the Coen Brothers classic Burn After Reading with Frances McDormand on Amazon Prime. 

Frances McDormand Movies: Fargo 

Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson in Fargo is easily one of the best acting performances ever. Period. The role won Frances McDormand an Oscar for Best Actress, proving once again that she and the Coen Brothers can do no wrong. Marge Gunderson is not your average hero, as a heavily pregnant mild-mannered police officer who goes on a goose chase for Gaear Grimsgurd (Peter Stormare) and Jerry Lundergaard (William H. Macy), she simply steals the show. In a film filled with criminals, Marge Gunderson serves as the heart and moral compass of the film, and she never steers from what she believes is right. Good old Margie defies all stereotypes of the typical cop, and that’s why we love her. 

In a heartwarming scene, she is driving with Gaear Grimsgurd and gives him some food for thought––one of the many life lessons in this Frances McDormand movie.

 “There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’t you know that?”

This final scene will forever stand out in cinema as a somber and heartbreaking moment, and this is all thanks to Frances McDormand’s performance. 

Watch the Coen Brothers and Frances McDormand classic Fargo with Showtime on Hulu.

Frances McDormand TV Shows: Olive Kitteridge 

In 2015, the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge practically swept the Emmys with a total of 13 nominations and 6 wins