Australian actress and producer Margot Robbie has only been acting since 2008, but she’s already made a major impact, working with world-renowned auteurs and landing nominations from major awards groups like the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. At the age of only 27, Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Margot Robbie ended 2019 with people wondering which of her two high-profiles roles that year was more likely to win her an Oscar.
Despite playing memorable American characters like Tonya Harding in most of her film work, Margot Robbie is actually Australian, born on a farm in Dalby, Queensland, on July 2, 1990. Margot Robbie grew up working on that farm with three siblings, studying drama in school, before moving to Melbourne to begin her career, which started almost immediately.
Robbie auditioned for and got parts almost instantly, appearing in Australian films like “ICU” and “Vigilante.” She also did guest roles on Australian television before landing her breakthrough role on the national staple “Neighbours,” a hit soap opera that has run in the country since 1985. It’s kind of their “Days of Our Lives” or “General Hospital,” and has Robbie was upgraded from a guest role to a regular cast member right away, doing a run on the hit show for almost three years. In late 2010, she left the show and headed to Hollywood, where she wouldn’t take long to make an impact.
Like a lot of young actresses, Margot Robbie started in television, although she didn’t stay there long. After a failed audition for the failed reboot of “Charlie’s Angels,” she was placed on another ABC show called “Pan Am,” which lasted only one miserable, low-rated season.
2013 was Margot Robbie’s international breakthrough year. She had a supporting role in Richard Curtis’ “About Time,” but the first time most American audiences remember seeing Robbie was as Naomi Belfort, the high-maintenance and unforgettable wife of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Many even thought that Robbie would get her first Academy Award nomination here, and she was cited by some critics groups and even the MTV Movie Awards and the Empire Award. Few actresses made more of an impact in their major film as Robbie did in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Margot Robbie was off and running. She took the natural next exit on the freeway to the career of a young actress by starring in a romantic dramedy with a major movie star. The star in this case was Will Smith, and the movie was 2015’s “Focus,” a story of two grifters playing a sexy game of cat and mouse. The film was something of a critical bomb, but it did pretty well at the box office, making over $150 million on a $50 million budget, and even the critics who panned the film liked the energy that Robbie brought to it.
A couple of small films followed, indicating that Margot Robbie wasn’t going to be content to only appear in mainstream blockbusters. She starred in the Sundance project “Z for Zachariah” with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine, which barely got released but did earn her some more positive press, and “Suite Francaise” with Michelle Williams and Kristin Scott Thomas. Even fewer people saw that, but she did meet a British assistant director on the set named Tom Ackerley, and the two started dating, marrying in 2016. A memorable cameo in the Oscar-winning “The Big Short” ended her 2015.
Larger roles in wider released would stretch Robbie’s public profile in 2016. She appeared with Tina Fey in “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” based on a true story, and then did her first of two truly major summer blockbusters in David Yates’ “The Legend of Tarzan” with Alexander Skarsgard and Christoph Waltz. However, her most defining role that year was when she stepped into the shoes of DC’s Harley Quinn and walked away with “Suicide Squad.” While most critics and viewers didn’t really like the film, no one had a negative thing to say about Robbie’s work in it.
Riding her skyrocketing fame, Margot Robbie got the most essential role of her career to this point when she strapped on some skates and played Tonya Harding in Craig Gillespie’s “I, Tonya,” a TIFF premiere that went on to become a major hit, winning an Oscar for Allison Janney and earning Robbie her first nomination for Best Actress. She was also nominated for the Golden Globe and named to the aforementioned Time list. She also landed on Forbes’ coveted “30 Under 30” list that same year.
A rocky 2018 that included some films barely released like “Terminal” and “Slaughterhouse Rulez” ended with good notices for playing Queen Elizabeth I in “Mary, Queen of Scots.” She once again landed nominations, this time from BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild.
2019 would be a major year for Margot Robbie. First, she played Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist look at the Manson murders, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Earning raves in only a few scenes, Robbie captured the spirit of Tate in a way that no one else could have done, reclaiming Tate’s legacy from its tragic end. While still riding the buzz for that, she stole Jay Roach’s “Bombshell,” the story of the downfall of Roger Ailes. Playing a composite character based on real people, Robbie brings depth and gravity to the role of a young reporter at Fox News, assaulted by the man who runs it.
Over the last few years, Margot Robbie has also become a major model and face in the advertising world. Her beautiful face has graced ads for Calvin Klein, Nissan, and Chanel. She’s become one of the most popular actresses of her generation, even amassing over 17 million followers on Instagram.
At the time of this writing, Margot Robbie has major projects in the works, including returning to Harley Quinn in “Birds of Prey,” and she has produced the Hulu series “Dollface.”
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