Kelly Macdonald (born February 23, 1976) is an Emmy Award-winning Scottish actress, born in Glasgow, Scotland.
Her parents divorced when she was quite young and she and her younger brother were raised by her mother on a council estate in the town of Newton Mearns. Macdonald attended Eastwood High School. Her family moved around frequently when she was a child, partially due to their modest financial standing.
MacDonald moved away from home when she was 17 years old. She took a college course in modern studies while living with a friend in Glasgow, but she soon dropped out of the class. MacDonald expressed interest in entering a drama school but never did, fearing she wouldn't fit in because of her shyness .
In August 2003 she married Travis bass player Dougie Payne.
Her career began when, while working as a barmaid, she saw a leaflet advertising an open casting session for what would become the movie Trainspotting, in which she played the part of Diane, the underage seductress to Ewan McGregor's Renton. Other roles include a reporter in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and an actor playing Peter Pan in Finding Neverland. She also had a big role in Robert Altman's English period piece Gosford Park, where she played a maid.
On television, her highest-profile roles have been in two BBC dramas, the Paul Abbott serial State of Play (2003) and the one-off Richard Curtis piece The Girl in the Café (2005). Both of these were directed by David Yates, and both also starred Bill Nighy. For her performance in The Girl in the Café, Macdonald was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2006, and won an Emmy.
Macdonald most recently starred in the 2005 film Nanny McPhee, as the scullery maid Evangeline, and A Cock and Bull Story, where she plays the girlfriend of actor Steve Coogan's onscreen alter ego.