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Ralph Fiennes has twice been nominated for an Academy Award, for his performances in Anthony Minghella's The English Patient and Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, both of which won the Oscar for Best Picture.
Born in Suffolk, Mr. Fiennes grew up in England and Ireland. He attended RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts), after which he began his professional acting career on the stage. He performed at London's Regents Park, the Theatre Clwyd, and the Oldman Coliseum. Two years after graduating RADA, he joined Michael Rudman's company at the Royal National Theatre. He later joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where for two seasons he appeared in such plays as Henry VI, King Lear, and Love's Labour's Lost.
An appearance on the original Prime Suspect miniseries, directed by Christopher Menaul, led to his being cast by the director to portray the legendary T.E. Lawrence in the telefilm A Dangerous Man: Lawrence after Arabia. The starring role in another telefilm, Peter Markham's The Cormorant, followed. Mr. Fiennes made his feature film debut starring opposite Juliette Binoche, as Heathcliff, in Peter Kosminsky's Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
In addition to Academy and Golden Globe Award nominations, his performance as SS Commandant Amon Goeth in Schindler's List won him the BAFTA, New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics, Boston Society of Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics Association, and London Critics Circle [Film] Awards, among other honors.
Mr. Fiennes next starred as Charles Van Doren in Robert Redford's acclaimed Quiz Show. His subsequent films included Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days; The English Patient (for which, in addition to his second Oscar nod, he also received BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations); Gillian Armstrong's Oscar and Lucinda; and Martha Fiennes' Onegin (which he also executive-produced). His performance in István Szabó's epic Sunshine earned him the European Film Award for Best Actor.
Mr. Fiennes' other films include Neil Jordan's The End of the Affair and (in a cameo) The Good Thief; Brett Ratner's Red Dragon; Wayne Wang's Maid in Manhattan; David Cronenberg's Spider; Arie Posin's The Chumscrubber; Merchant Ivory's The White Countess; Martha Fiennes' Chromophobia, which world-premiered as the Closing…Night film at the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival; Robert Edwards' Land of the Blind; (in voiceover) Steve Box and Nick Park's Academy Award-winning animated feature Wallace & Gromit The Curse of the Were-rabbit; and Bob Balaban's Bernard and Doris.
Also for Focus Features, he starred in Fernando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener, for which he was again a BAFTA Award nominee, opposite Rachel Weisz. His performance also brought him the British Independent Film Award and London Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Actor.
For the past fifteen years, he has consistently alternated stage and film performances. He starred in Jonathan Kent's Almeida Theatre staging of Hamlet, the subsequent Broadway engagement of which won him a Tony Award. Mr. Fiennes returned to the Almeida for the director's staging of David Hare's modern translation of Chekhov's Ivanov, the production of which was honored with an invitation to Moscow for a special weeklong run.
In the summer of 2000, he played the title roles of Richard II and Coriolanus in rotating repertory for the Almeida Theatre Company. Both Shakespeare plays were directed by Jonathan Kent and, following acclaim in London, were also performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Under the direction of Howard Davies at London's National Theatre, Mr. Fiennes starred as Carl Jung in Christopher Hampton's The Talking Cure. He also starred in Adrian Noble's Royal Shakespeare Company staging of Ibsen's Brand in the West End; and in Deborah Warner's production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, at the Barbican Centre in London and on tour in Paris, Madrid, and Luxembourg.
In 2006, he reunited with Jonathan Kent for Brian Friel's Faith Healer, which premiered at Dublin's Gate Theatre in a sold-out run before coming to Broadway, where Mr. Fiennes was honored with a Tony Award nomination, as was the play.
He has starred in (so far) two movies as the dreaded Lord Voldemort; Mike Newell's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and David Yates' Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, both of which also starred Brendan Gleeson of In Bruges.
Mr. Fiennes' upcoming films include Saul Dibb's The Duchess, in which he stars with Keira Knightley; and Stephen Daldry's The Reader, in which he stars opposite Nicole Kidman.