Dame Kristin Ann Scott Thomas, DBE (born 24 May 1960) is an English actress who also holds French citizenship. A five-time BAFTA Award and Olivier Award nominee, she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and the Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2008 for the Royal Court revival of The Seagull. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for The English Patient (1996).
Scott Thomas made her film debut in Under the Cherry Moon (1986), and won the Evening Standard Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer for A Handful of Dust (1988). Her other notable films include Bitter Moon (1992), Mission: Impossible (1996), The Horse Whisperer (1998), Gosford Park (2001), The Valet (2006), and Tell No One (2007). She won the European Film Award for Best Actress for Philippe Claudel's I've Loved You So Long (2008), etc.
She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2003 Birthday Honours and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to drama. She was named a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by the French Government in 2005.
Kristin Scott Thomas was born in Redruth, Cornwall. Her mother, Deborah (née Hurlbatt), was brought up in Hong Kong and Africa, and studied drama before marrying Kristin's father, Lieutenant Commander Simon Scott Thomas, a pilot in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm who died in a flying accident when Kristin was aged five. She has a younger sister Scott Thomas.
The childhood home of Scott Thomas was in Trent, Dorset, England. Her mother remarried to another Royal Navy pilot, Lieutenant Commander Simon Idiens who also died in a flying, six years after the death of her father. Scott Thomas was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College and St Antony's Leweston in Sherborne, Dorset, both independent schools.
On leaving school in 1978, she moved to Hampstead, London, and worked in a department store. She began training to become a drama teacher at the Central School of Speech and Drama, enrolling on a BEd in Speech and Drama. After a year at Central, speaking French fluently, she decided to move to Paris to work as an au pair and studied acting at the École Nationale supérieure des arts et techniques du théâtre (ENSATT). When she was 25, she was cast as Mary Sharon in the film Under the Cherry Moon (1986), the first but widely panned film directed by and starring the already well-known musical artist, Prince.
Her breakthrough role was playing Brenda Last in an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust (1988), winning her the Evening Standard British Film Award for the most promising newcomer. This was followed by roles opposite Hugh Grant in Bitter Moon and Four Weddings and a Funeral where she won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress.
In 1994, she starred in the Romanian–French film An Unforgettable Summer, in which she played Marie-Thérèse Von Debretsy. Rather than learn Romanian for the part, she read her lines phonetically. In an interview for Gloucester Citizen on 22 March 2015, she cited An Unforgettable Summer as one of the films that she is most proud of alongside The English Patient and Only God Forgives.
1996 saw the release of the film with her most famous role as Katharine Clifton, The English Patient, which gained her Golden Globe and Oscar nominations as well as critical acclaim. This was followed by a brief period working in Hollywood on films such as The Horse Whisperer with Robert Redford and Random Hearts with Harrison Ford. However, growing disillusioned with Hollywood, she took a year off to give birth to her third child.
She returned to the stage in 2001 when she played the title role in a French theatre production of Racine's Bérénice, and appeared on-screen as Lady Sylvia McCordle in Robert Altman's Gosford Park. This started a critically acclaimed second career on stage, in which she has received four nominations for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress, including one win, for her performance of Arkadina in a London West End production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull.
Scott Thomas has also acted in French films. In 2006, she played the role of Hélène, in French, in Ne le dis à personne (Tell No One), by French director Guillaume Canet. In 2008, Scott Thomas received many accolades for her performance in Il y a longtemps que je t'aime (I've Loved You So Long), including BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress.
In 2015, she appeared in Suite Française, the film adaptation of Irène Némirovsky's World War II novel directed by Saul Dibb.
In 2017 she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the 71st British Academy Film Awards for portraying Clementine Churchill in Joe Wright's Darkest Hour.
In 2020, Scott Thomas played Mrs. Danvers in director Ben Wheatley's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Gothic romance Rebecca, with Armie Hammer and Lily James.
Scott Thomas is divorced from François Olivennes, a French gynaecologist, with whom she has three children: Hannah (1988), Joseph (1991) and George (2000). She has lived in France since she was 19, brought up her three children in Paris, and sometimes considers herself more French than British.