is the daughter of English actress Phyllida Law
and of stage director Eric Thompson
. Actress Sophie Thompson
is her sister. Emma attended the Camden School for Girls, a comprehensive girls' secondary school in North London.
She first came into the limelight at Cambridge, where she studied English Literature and was an active member of the Cambridge Footlights alongside close friends Hugh Laurie
and Stephen Fry
. While at the University she co-wrote, co-produced, and co-directed an all-female revue. Soon after graduation she found success in London's West End in a production of Me And My Girl
. The revised script for the show was written by university friend Stephen Fry.
Emma's early television roles were in comedy, but she soon took on straight acting parts. She married Shakespearian actor and director Kenneth Branagh
in 1989 after they met whilst filming the BBC drama Fortunes Of War
. They made numerous films together for the Renaissance Company, many of them Shakespeare adaptations. They divorced in 1994.
She married actor Greg Wise
, whom she worked with on her award winning film adaptation of Jane Ausitn's Sense And Sensibility, in 2003.
.Emma received an Academy Award
for her role as Margaret Schlegel in Howard's End (1992) and also had Oscar nominations for The Remains of the Day
and In the Name of the Father
. She is also a successful screen writer. Emma has achieved international recognition for her writing and performance in Nanny McPhee
Emma is also known for her charity wrork, drawing attention to the plight of the impoverished and exploited around the world. She is a member of many NGOs and is a patron of the British Refugee Council.
On December 4th, 1999 (at the age of forty), Emma gave birth to her first child, a daughter called Gaia Romilly Wise