10/5/1975 (43 years old) Reading, Berkshire, England
Owing to her superlative work and impressive range, this sexy British thespian was the first actress to snag four Oscar nods before turning 30. Born to an acting family (her parents, grandparents and sisters are all performers), Winslet began training at an early age. At 19 she made a stunning film debut as a frail, romance-obsessed teen driven to murder in 1994's Heavenly Creatures. Set in the '50s, the fantastical film was the first of a series of period pieces for the actress. Her turn as another lovesick maid in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility earned Winslet her first SAG Award, and Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. But it was her sexy performance as a headstrong society lady in Titanic that would turn her into a megastar. As the female lead in one of the highest-grossing films of all time, the modest Winslet was suddenly slapped on magazine covers and found herself idolized and analyzed. Her weight became a constant point of controversy, as she was curvier than most of her cinematic contemporaries. But Winslet publicly refused to starve herself and even criticized GQ magazine for retouching cover photos to make her look thinner. Her independent nature lead her to eschew typical Hollywood fare in favor of quirkier flicks (Hideous Kinky, Holy Smoke!) and prestige projects, such as Iris, which again earned her Oscar and Golden Globe nods. She made a marked impression in every movie she found time to make, whether it was her endearing turn as an impulsive soul trapped in a dysfunctional relationship in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (more Oscar and Golden Globe nods) or a widow who befriends the author of Peter Pan in Finding Neverland. In 2006, she lent her talents to a quartet of projects, including the so-so comedy The Holiday, which proved she could evoke laughs, and the gripping drama Little Children, which brought myriad nominations for her performance as an unhappy housewife involved in a torrid affair. The elusive Oscar and Golden Globe trophies both finally arrived in 2009, after six nominations for each. Her reteaming with Titanic's Leonardo DiCaprio as a struggling couple in Revolutionary Road netted her the Globe for Best Actress, while her sensitive portrayal in The Reader garnered both the Best Actress Oscar and the Best Supporting Actress Globe. Winslet again took a small break, returning to star in Carnage, the film adaptation of the Tony-winning play God of Carnage, directed by Roman Polanski and Contagion, an ensemble film directed by Steven Soderbergh. In 2014, she joined the Divergent series, later reprising her role in the 2015 sequel Insurgent. Also in 2015, Winslet starred in Steve Jobs, and earned her seventh Oscar nomination in the process.