Two decades after winning her first Academy Award for playing Marge Gunderson in “Fargo”, a police chief about to give birth, Frances McDormand on Monday took home her second Oscar for her role of Mildred Hayes, a mother grieving the loss of her teenage daughter, in award season’s favourite “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

This year, the 60-year-old actor had also won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Awards for her role in Martin McDonagh’s film.

Jennifer Lawrence and Jodie Foster presented the Best Actress trophy to McDormand, in a break from tradition where the previous year’s Best Actor winner presents the award. But Casey Affleck, last year’s Best Actor winner, had withdrawn as a presenter from this year’s ceremony amid allegations of sexual harassment, which he settled out of court.

In her acceptance speech, McDormand thanked her family and asked all the other female nominees to stand up. She also urged producers to back small and independent films “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ‘inclusion’ and ‘writer’,” an emotional McDormand said.

McDormand emerged victorious against Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”) Meryl Streep (“The ost”), Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”) and Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”).

In the black comedy drama, McDormand plays Mildred, the disillusioned and angry mother of a young woman whose murder has gone unsolved in her small-town American community. When local cops fail to catch the culprit, Mildred takes things into her own hands, putting up a series of brutal and hard-hitting billboards in her neighbourhood, calling out the police for their indifference and inaction.

McDonagh wrote the character of Mildred with McDormand in mind. However,the actor was initially not sure about her casting in the role as she is older than the character. Her filmmaker husband Joel Coen convinced her to say yes to the part.

Born on June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois, McDormand earned her BA in Theater from Bethany College in 1979 and her MFA from Yale in 1982.

She started her career onstage and has retained her association with the theatre throughout her career.  She made her film acting debut in 1984 with “Blood Simple”, the first film by the Coen brothers — Joel and Ethan Coen. Same year she tied the knot with Joel and in 1995 the two adopted a son from Paraguay, Pedro McDormand Coen.

Since then the couple have collaborated on many films including “Fargo”, “Burn After Reading” and most recently “Hail, Ceaser!”.

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