Frances McDormand

Frances McDormand’s 10 Best Movies

Frances McDormand

Frances McDormand has made a distinguished career largely working with the Coen Brothers (one of whom to which she is married) and director Wes Anderson.  Both-and the smartest directors for whom she’s worked-have utilized her ability to disappear into roles.  You rarely hear people talking about a “Frances McDormand movie”.  They talk about the characters she creates.  A lot of actors get credit for epitomizing the blue-collar American, but I don’t think any actress embodies that niche better than McDormand, though her range allows her to do pretty much whatever she wants whenever she wants.

Frances McDormand in Almost Famous
Frances McDormand’s Best 10

1. Almost Famous (2000) Elaine Miller
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Mildred Hayes
3. Mississippi Burning (1988) Mrs. Pell
4. Primal Fear (1994) Dr. Molly Arrington
5. North Country (1995) Glory
6. Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Mrs. Bishop
7. Fargo (1996) Marge Gunderson
8. Burn After Reading (2008) Linda Litzke
9. Olive Kitteridge (2016-HBO) Olive Kitteridge
10. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) Miss Pettigrew
Honorable Mention: Hail, Caesar! (2016) C.C. Calhoun

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Oscars, Golden Globes & Emmys

Oscar Wins (2): Fargo (1997), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018)

Oscar Nominations (5): Mississippi Burning (1989), Fargo (1997), Almost Famous (2001), North Country (2006), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (2018)

Frances McDormand in Fargo

Golden Globe Wins (2): Short Cuts (1994 – special award for ensemble cast), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018)

Golden Globe Nominations (7): Short Cuts (1994 – special award for ensemble cast), Fargo (1997), Almost Famous (2001), North Country (2006), Burn After Reading (2009), Olive Kitteridge (2016), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (2018)

Frances McDormand and Gene Hackman in Mississippi Burning

Emmy Wins (2): Olive Kitteridge (2016 – Actress & Producer)

Emmy Nominations (3): Gus (1996), Olive Kitteridge (2016 – Actress & Producer)

Frances McDormand in Olive Kitteridge

My Favorite McDormand Scene:
“Your Mom Kinda Freaked Me Out” from Almost Famous (2000)

Next Film: Frances McDormand, basking in the glow of her Oscar win, is currently not attached to a project.

5 thoughts on “Frances McDormand’s 10 Best Movies”

  1. She’s beyond wonderful!

    I’m partial to Marge Gunderson. But of course that isn’t just the performance, it’s the character as written. I love that she’s pregnant, and waddles through the film, that she ought to be ridiculous on the face of it, yet is an expert officer, and highly intelligent and analytical, and only fires her weapon once in the entire film, but hits her mark perfectly, not shooting to kill but just to keep the guy from getting away. I love her relationship with her husband too. I honestly don’t know if the Coens are making fun of the two of them, or just presenting them as a couple. But she’s such a good spirited character in such a black film. She doesn’t even show up until halfway through the movie, the Coens show you this indelible universe of chaos and evil and incompetence, and then Marge comes in and gives you a way out, allows you to live with the world, even if it’s a very bizarre world.

    I love her in Burn After Reading too. Her character/performance in that movie is really, really scary. That entire movie is about the damage that people with narcissistic personality disorders inflict on the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Burn After Reading has quietly become, I think, my favorite Coen film. I’d have to think more if I were making a list, but it’s definitely the one I quote or watch scenes from the most.


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