Amy Lou Adams (born August 20, 1974) is an American actress. Known for both her comedic and dramatic performances, she has featured thrice in annual rankings of the highest-paid actresses in the world. Her accolades include two Golden Globes and nominations for six Academy Awards and seven British Academy Film Awards.
Born in Vicenza, Italy, and raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Adams is the fourth of seven siblings. She trained to be a ballerina but at age 18 found musical theater a better fit, and from 1994 to 1998 she worked in dinner theater. She made her feature film debut with a supporting part in the 1999 satire Drop Dead Gorgeous. After moving to Los Angeles, she made guest appearances in television and took on “mean girl” parts in small-scale features. Her first major role came in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 biopic Catch Me If You Can, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, but she was unemployed for a year afterward. Her breakthrough came in the part of a loquacious pregnant woman in the 2005 independent film Junebug.
The 2007 musical Enchanted, in which Adams played a cheerful princess, was her first major success as a leading lady. She followed it by playing naïve, optimistic women in a series of films such as the 2008 drama Doubt. She subsequently played stronger parts to positive reviews in the sports film The Fighter (2010) and the psychological drama The Master (2012). In 2013, she began portraying Lois Lane in superhero films set in the DC Extended Universe. She won two consecutive Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress for playing a seductive con artist in the crime film American Hustle (2013) and the troubled painter Margaret Keane in the biopic Big Eyes (2014). Further acclaim came for playing a linguist in the science fiction film Arrival (2016), a self-harming reporter in the HBO miniseries Sharp Objects (2018), and Lynne Cheney in the satirical film Vice (2018).
Adams’s stage roles include the Public Theater’s revival of Into the Woods in 2012, in which she played the Baker’s Wife. In 2014, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time and featured in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. She is married to actor Darren Le Gallo, with whom she has a daughter.
2018–present: Sharp Objects and beyond
Adams returned to television in 2018 with Sharp Objects, an HBO miniseries based on Gillian Flynn’s thriller novel of the same name. She served as an executive producer and starred as Camille Preaker, a self-harming reporter who returns to her hometown to cover the murder of two young girls. For the part, Adams gained weight and had to undergo three hours of prosthetic makeup to create her character’s scarred body. The dysfunctional role proved challenging for her; she found it difficult to distance herself from it and suffered from insomnia. She read A Bright Red Scream to learn about self-mutilation and researched the psychological condition of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. The series and Adams’s performance received positive reviews. James Poniewozik praised the complex characterization of Preaker and called Adams’s performance “transfixing”. Daniel D’Addario of Variety found her to be “operating at the peak of her abilities” and added that with “her voice dropped an octave, slowed to a drawl, and sharpened with distrust, [she] is simply superb”.
Adams and Christian Bale teamed for the third time in Adam McKay’s political satire Vice (2018), in which they portrayed former vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney, and his wife, Lynne, respectively. She read Lynne’s books to prepare; despite disagreeing with her political views, Adams approached the part with empathy and found a connection with her character’s fortitude. Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson drew comparisons with Adams’s role in The Master; he commended “her usual rigor” but criticized the “lazy rubber-stamp of a man’s idea of a woman adjacent to power”. Eric Kohn of IndieWire was more appreciative of her for “embodying an underwritten Lady Macbeth with ferocious energy”. Adams earned Golden Globe nominations for her performances in both Sharp Objects and Vice, and for the latter, she received her sixth Oscar and seventh BAFTA nomination.
In 2019, Adams will star as an agoraphobic woman who witnesses a murder in Joe Wright’s The Woman in the Window, based on the mystery novel of the same name. She will then reprise the role of Giselle in Disenchanted, a sequel to Enchanted.