A look back at this day in film history
May 31
Kate Winslet October 5, 1975
Kate Winslet Born

Kate Winslet was born on October 5, 1975 in the English of Reading. She admits that while she “didn't have a privileged upbringing,” she grew up with two prior generations of actors. Her grandparents on her mother’s side ran the Reading Repertory Theatre, and those on her dad’s side worked in vaudeville. Both her parents pursued acting careers, although neither was able to sustain them professionally. From a young age, Kate Winslet dove into acting, fighting for parts in school plays, even getting into the competitive Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead. But there, her working class roots and weight –– her schoolmates cruelly nicknamed her “blubber” –– distinguished her from her more entitled peers. In addition to a fierce sense of ambition, Winselt took from her childhood a keen sense of the unfair demands that society, even Hollywood, puts on women. By 12 she got her first TV commercial (turning into a honey bear monster in a Sugar Puffs cereal). By 13 she got bits in TV shows, appearing in several mini-series. Then at 17, while making a ham sandwich at the deli where she worked part time, she got the call that Peter Jackson had cast her in HEAVENLY CREATURES. Her role as a day-dreaming murderous teen won her a London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actress of the Year, and changed her life.  The next year she was cast by Ang Lee to play Marianne Dashwood in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, a role for which she received her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Two years later in the blockbuster TITANTIC, she got her first nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She would continue to get nominated––four times for Leading and twice for Supporting Actress (including for Best Actress in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND in 2004). She finally won Best Actress in 2008 for THE READER. Her singular focus and dramatic versatility led New York Magazine critic David Edelstein in 2009 to hail her as "the best English-speaking film actress of her generation."

More Flashbacks
Clint Eastwood May 31, 1930
Clint Eastwood born

Clint Eastwood, born May 31, 1930, may be the last icon left in American cinema. Now entering his eighties, Eastwood's continued high estimation among both critics and audiences centers around a fascinating duality.

Read more »
May 31, 1917
Jean Rouch born

Ethnographer, composer and filmmaker Jean Rouch, a pioneer in the French New Wave, cinéma vérité, and the Nigerian film movement, was born on May 31, 1917. A former civil engineer who worked in Africa in the early 1940s, Rouche's cinematic immersion in the continent (and, specifically, the country of Nigeria) spanned four decades and 120 films, ranging from short works detailing the spirit rituals of the Nigerian fisherman to full-length features made in collaboration with African crews, actors and co-writers.

Read more »