In "Extra's" continuing Best Supporting Actress series, today we're spotlighting the versatile and eccentric Helena Bonham Carter, nominated for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in "The King's Speech."
English aristocracy is something Bonham Carter is well familiar with, since her family tree includes barons and baronesses - even a prime minister. Find out more about Bonham Carter's unique life and career!
Oscar Nominee Trivia File: Helena Bonham Carter
Helena is the great-granddaughter of former U.K. Prime Minister Herbert H. Asquith, and her family tree contains barons and baronesses, diplomats and a director — Bonham Carter's great-uncle, Anthony Asquith, who made the 1938 version of "Pygmalion" and 1952's "The Importance of Being Earnest."
A Poet - and She Knows It
In 1979, at age 13, Bonham Carter entered a national poetry writing competition and used her second-place winnings to place her photo in the casting directory "Spotlight." She soon had her first agent and her first acting job, in a commercial, at age 16.
She was denied admission to Cambridge University because school officials were afraid that she would leave mid-term to pursue her acting career — and so she did.
'A Room with a View'
Helena made her feature film acting debut in this classic Ismail Merchant/James Ivory period film - beginning her reign as the "Corset Queen."
The actress followed up her star turn in "A Room with a View" with "Lady Jane," playing the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for a short period of time after the death of King Henry VIII.
Helena didn't necessarily have to wear a corset to play the tragic Ophelia opposite Mel Gibson's Hamlet in this Shakespearean adaptation, but it's a period piece, nonetheless.
No to 'Breaking the Waves'
Bonham Carter turned down the role of Bess in the 1996 "Breaking the Waves" due to sexual content. The role went to Emily Watson, who was then nominated for Best Actress for her performance.
Helena plays a member of an enlightened bourgeois family trying to maintain their humanistic spirit among aristocratic prejudices. Bonham Carter once said, "I should get a few ribs taken out, because I'll be in a corset for the rest of my life."
Helena joined Kenneth Branagh and Robert De Niro in the re-telling of the classic Mary Shelley novel.
'The Wings of the Dove'
In her last period film (for awhile, anyway), the actress earned her first Best Actress nomination for her turn as a woman caught between leading a privileged life and her ties to a working class lover.
A new, more eccentric Bonham Carter emerges in the twisty 1999 David Fincher film, in which she plays a modern-day screw-up attracted to the wrong guy. The actress said she based her performance on Judy Garland in the later stages of her life. To help her get into the mindset, director Fincher would often call her Judy on set.
'Planet of the Apes'
Helena plays a sympathetic chimpanzee in the remake of the 1960s cult classic. It's also the first time the actress worked with director Tim Burton, which has turned into a long-lasting collaboration, both on and off screen.
And Babies Make Four
Bonham Carter delivered her first child with partner Tim Burton, a boy, Billy Ray, in 2003. She gave birth to a baby girl, Nell, in 2007.
Helena tries her hand at voicing an animated character in Tim Burton's stop-motion gem about a dead bride looking for her perfect groom. Friend and longtime Burton favorite Johnny Depp voices the groom.
Johnny's the Godfather
Johnny Depp is godfather to Bonham Carter and Burtons's son, Billy Ray.
'Harry Potter' Series
Joining an A-list cast of British actors in the "Harry Potter" movies, Helena portrays the deliciously evil Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) trusted henchwomen.
Helena turns in another stellar performance — singing this time — as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street's murderous accomplice.
'Alice in Wonderland'
Helena as the Red Queen - perfection.
The King's Speech
Bonham Carter earned her second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress playing Queen Elizabeth I, who helps her husband, King George VI, overcome his stuttering problem to lead the nation into WWII.
What's Up Next?
Helena stars with Freddie Highmore in the indie "Toast," which is the ultimate nostalgia trip through everything edible in 1960's Britain. And she will again play Bellatrix Lestrange in the last Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II."