Miranda Otto

Miranda Otto

A crimson-haired Aussie with a girl-next-door smile who was the daughter of prolific Australian actor Barry Otto, Miranda Otto cut her teeth on the stage after graduating from the prestigious theatrical school NIDA (which boasts alumnae including Mel Gibson, Judy Davis and Cate Blanchett) and went on to appear in a spate of Australian films beginning in 1986 with an appearance as the title character in "Emma's War." She subsequently earned Australian Film Institute award nominations for her work in Gillian Anderson's "The Last Days of Chez Nous" (1992), along with "The Well" (1997) and "In The Winter Dark" (1998). She also received an Australian Film Critics Circle Award nominations for her performance in "The Last Days of Chez Nous," and "Love Serenade" (1996), which won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Making her American debut in "The Thin Red Line" (1998), director Terrence Malick's Oscar-nomionated meditation on war, Otto quickly caught the attention of Hollywood filmmakers and the actress snared high-profile supporting roles in the HBO Western telepic "The Jack Bull" (1999) opposite John Cusack, and director Robert Zemeckis' "What Lies Beneath" (2000) opposite Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford. But by far her biggest international exposure came when she joined the ensemble of director Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, bowing as beautiful, battle-ready Eowyn in the second instalment, "The Two Towers" (2002) and returning for the finale, "The Return of the King" (2003). In between, she appeared opposite Rhys Ifans in writer-director Jeff Balsmeyer's offbeat Australian film "Danny Deckchair" (2003), a tale inspired by a true story, as a female parking officer who falls for a man who lands in har yard after taking to the sky in a lawnchair tied to balloons. Next for Otto was the New Zealand-made mystery "In My Father's Den" (2004) and then she headlined the Aussie TV miniseries "Through My Eyes" (2004) as Lindy Chamberlain, the real-life woman suspected in her baby's disappearance after she claimed a dingo carried the child off (the inspiration for the Meryl Streep film "A Cry in the Dark"). Back in Hollywood, she starred opposite Dennis Quaid in the remake of "Flight of the Phoenix" (2004) as an oil engineer among the survivors of a downed military aircraft. Then it was on to a brief but effective role as Tom Cruise's ex-wife in Steven Spielberg's remake of the sci-fi classic "War of the Worlds" (2005). Otto settled into a steady career as a character actress in both film and television, appearing in soapy miniseries "The Starter Wife" (USA 2007), Darren Star's short-lived "Cashmere Mafia" (ABC 2008), and the American version of popular Australian legal comedy-drama "Rake" (Fox 2014) as well as Australian dramas "In Her Skin" (2009), "Blessed" (2009) and "South Solitary" (2010). Brazilian drama "Reaching for the Moon" (2013), Tim Winton anthology "The Turning" (2013) and science fiction fantasy "I, Frankenstein" (2014) followed, along with a supporting role in Tommy Lee Jones' Western drama "The Homesman" (2014). Otto's supporting role opposite Geoffrey Rush in "The Daughter" (2015) won her an AATCA Award in her native country, which she followed with key roles in a season each of espionage drama "Homeland" (Showtime 2011-) and "24: Legacy" (Fox 2017). After appearing in supernatural horror "Annabelle: Creation" (2017) and science fiction romance "Zoe" (2017), Otto returned to series television as Aunt Zelda on "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" (Netflix 2018-).