After small parts in partner Joel Coen’s Blood Simple and Raising Arizona, Frances McDormand really hit moviegoers’ radars in 1988’s Mississippi Burning. But there was this little film in 1996 that really put her on the map, yah? Here are five of McDormand’s best.

 

Fargo (1996)

“You betcha!”

We’ll go out on a limb here and claim that this is inarguably McDormand’s finest role thus far – even the Academy agreed, awarding her the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar – as she became quirky police chief Marge Gunderson in this Coen brothers tale that veered wildly from comedy to icky gruesomeness.

 

Almost Famous (2000)

“Rock stars have kidnapped my son!”

As a loving but somewhat overprotective mother, McDormand provides all manner of comedy in this wondrous coming of age tale from Cameron Crowe, as she acquiesces to letting her 15-year-old son go on the road with a rock band to write a story for Rolling Stone magazine.

 

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

“Not everything comes along just when we want it.”

In the title role of a destitute, wartime London governess, McDormand brings a sense of wonder to our screens as she sneaks into a job as social secretary for a glamorous, ditzy American singer – and her entire world changes in a mere 24 hours.

 

Burn After Reading (2008)

“The fish has bitten!”

McDormand is hilarious as a ditzy gym employee who readily gets involved in a blackmail plot so as to gain enough money for a vast shopping list of cosmetic surgery – after all, she’s gone just as far as she can in her current body!

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

“Wow. When you can’t trust the lawyers and the advertising men, what the hell’s America coming to, huh?”

McDormand is ferocious – and a little bit frightening – as a mother disillusioned with local police and their investigation into her daughter’s death. What to do? Challenge them to re-open the investigation by harnessing the power of advertising.