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San Sebastian Honors Emily Watson With Donostia Award

Brit thesp career kick-started by Lars von Trier’s ‘Breaking the Waves’

Emily Watson Genius
Photo by Camilla Morandi/REX

BARCELONA — Emily Watson will receive a Donostia Award career achievement award at this September’s 63rd San Sebastian Film Festival, the highest-profile Spanish movie event.

Watson burst onto the film scene with Lars von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves” (1996), in which she potrayed a woman blindly, obsessively in love with her husband. This work established her as one of the most talked-up British actresses of her generation, snagging her an Oscar nomination, among other numerous recognitions.

Two years later, Watson earned another Oscar nom for Anant Tucker’s “Hilary and Jackie,” in which she played the British cellist Jacqueline du Pre.

Watson, a London Drama Studio alum, began her career on the stage in the Royal Shakespeare Company featuring in works of Lillian Hellman (“The Children’s Hour”),  Henrik Ibsen (“The Lady From the Sea”) and Anton Chekhov (“Three Sisters”).

Watson has worked with Tim Burton (“The Corpse Bride”),  Robert Altman (“Gosford Park”), John Hillcoat (“The Proposition”), Charlie Kauffman (“Synecdoche”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Punch, Drunk, Love”).

Watson’s career kudos include a U.S. National Society of Film Critics Award, a European Award and London and New York Writers Guild awards, for “Waves,” and a Bafta Best Actress Award for TV skein “Appropriate Adult,” and Gotham and Independent Spirit Awards for “Synecdoche.”

Watson’s latest work, as a base camp expedition organizer and witness to tragedy, can be seen in Venice Festival opener “Everest.”

Watson recently joined Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen in the cast for Richard Eyre’s TV movie “The Dresser,” a Starz and BBC co-production.

Previous recipients of the Donostia Award include Benicio del Toro, Carmen Maura, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Robert de Niro and Woody Allen.

Emily Watson will receive the Donostia Award in a ceremony that take places at the San Sebastian’s Kursaal theater on Sept. 25.

The San Sebastian Film Festival runs Sept. 18-26.