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In the film, written and directed by Martin Mc Donagh, Mc Dormand portrays Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother who, incensed after months having passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, paints signs leading into her town chastising the local chief of police (Woody Harrelson) for his failure to solve the homicide.
To date, Mc Dormand has garnered four Oscar nominations.
Over her illustrious acting career, Frances Mc Dormand has earned an Oscar, two Emmy Awards, a Tony Award and a pair of Screen Actors Guild Awards.
This year, with her acclaimed leading turn in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Mc Dormand may at last add a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award to her mantle.
Mc Dormand was a struggling New York stage actress when she landed her first film role in this low-budget thriller, which was also the debut film from the filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.
An inventive and entertaining film noir riff set in Texas, Mc Dormand first seems to be a femme fatale, but is eventually revealed to be a tough and plucky heroine.
In the role of “Dot,” the high-energy wife of Hi’s boss, Mc Dormand got to do the kind of kooky comic acting she (sadly) was rarely offered early in her career.
First, there was a nomination for her portrayal of the loving but concerned mother of a young rock music aficionado (Patrick Fugit) in “Almost Famous” (2000).
Mc Dormand scored Best Supporting Actress honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, a prize also for her work in “Wonder Boys,” but was defeated by Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”), earning a surprise win at the Oscars.
Mc Dormand takes what could have been a caricature — Marge Gunderson, the very pregnant Minnesota police chief with a cheerful Midwestern disposition and an over-the-top regional accent — and turns it into one of the warmest characters of the entire Coen canon: She deftly conveys not only Marge’s sense of “Minnesota nice,” but her sharp investigative skills and keen instincts for the nuances of human nature.
Mc Dormand becomes the movie’s heart and soul — so much so that what is, in many ways, a supporting role (she doesn’t appear until well past the 30-minute mark) has become its most recognizable element.