Tom Hooper was educated at one of England’s most prestigious schools, Westminster. His first film, Runaway Dog, was made when he was 13 years old and shot on a Clockwork 16mm Bolex camera, using 100 feet of film. At age 18, he wrote, directed and produced the short film Painted Faces (1992), which premiered at the London Film Festival; it was released theatrically and later shown on Channel 4. He studied English at England’s top university, Oxford. At Oxford University, he directed theatre productions starring his contemporaries Kate Beckinsale and Emily Mortimer, and directed his first television commercials. His father was a non-executive director at United News and Media, which owned an ITV franchise.
Hooper’s father introduced him to one of British television’s top directors and producers, Matthew Robinson, who gave him breaks by employing him to direct episodes of Byker Grove (1989) and EastEnders (1985), both series produced by Robinson. Further success came when he was approved by Helen Mirren to direct her in Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness (2003). He then worked with her again on Elizabeth I (2005). Hooper made the difficult transition from television to film with apparent ease, directing Michael Sheen in the Brian Clough biopic The Damned United (2009) and Colin Firth in The King’s Speech (2010). Both films were critical and commercial successes, quickly establishing Hooper as one of the most in demand directors of his generation.
Hooper has garnered numerous awards in his career. He won an Academy Award for directing The King’s Speech. The 2010 film was nominated for 12 Oscars, more than any other film of that year, and also won the Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth), and Best Original Screenplay Oscars. The King’s Speech received seven BAFTA Awards, including Best Film and Outstanding British Film. Hooper also won a Directors Guild of America Award for his direction. Among other accolades worldwide, The King’s Speech additionally was honored with the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival; the Best British Film prize at the British Independent Film Awards; the Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film; the Producers Guild of America Awards’ top prize; and the European Film Award for Best Film. The King’s Speech earned $414 million at the worldwide box office.
Hooper was recently again a Directors Guild of America Award nominee for directing Working Title Films’ Les Misérables. The 2012 film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won the Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway), Best Sound, and Best Make-up and Hair Styling Academy Awards. Les Misérables received those same accolades at the BAFTA Awards, as well as the BAFTA for Best Production Design. Among other accolades worldwide, Les Misérables was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute with an AFI Award; won three Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture [Musical/Comedy]; was voted the Best Acting by an Ensemble award by the National Board of Review; and was nominated for four Screen Actors Guild Awards. Les Misérables earned $442 million at the worldwide box office.
The Damned United received a South Bank Show Award nomination for Best British Film; and he gained acclaim for the BAFTA Award-nominated Red Dust, starring Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Hooper had an unprecedented run of success at the Golden Globe Awards with his works for HBO, which won the Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television three years in a row. The actors and actresses starring in these productions – respectively, Elizabeth I, Longford, and John Adams – also won Golden Globes for their performances three years running.
Hooper won an Emmy Award for directing Elizabeth I. The HBO Films/Channel 4 miniseries won three Golden Globes and nine Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Miniseries.
Longford, written by Peter Morgan, starred Jim Broadbent and Samantha Morton. The HBO Films/Channel 4 Telefilm won three Golden Globe Awards and was nominated for five Emmy Awards.
John Adams (2008), starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, won four Golden Globes and 13 Emmy Awards – the most Emmys ever awarded to a program in one year. Hooper, receiving his first Directors Guild of America Award nomination, directed all nine hours of the HBO Films miniseries.
Hooper was nominated for an Emmy Award for helming ITV’s miniseries Prime Suspect 6. His television work also includes Daniel Deronda (2002), which won the award for Best Miniseries at the 2003 Banff Television Festival; the miniseries Love in a Cold Climate (2001), for which star Alan Bates received a BAFTA Award nomination; episodes of the multi-award-winning ITV comedy/drama Cold Feet (1997); and EastEnders (1985) one-hour specials that garnered BAFTA Awards two years in a row.
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