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Morton received her first Oscar nomination for the role of Hattie in Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown" (1999). The most remarkable aspect of this nomination: Morton did not speak a word. Playing the unlikely role of a mute laundress, Morton brought warmth, vitality, and humor to what could have easily been a less than flattering role. She wore silly hats, munched constantly on sandwiches, but with her big eyes, wide smile, and imploring gaze, won co-star Sean Penn's heart and legions of fans. She followed that role in the independent picture Alison Maclean's "Jesus' Son" (1999) starring opposite Billy Crudup. She gave a remarkable performance a Michelle, a heroin addict who veers between bouncing exuberance and despair.
Morton was in every scene of Lynne Ramsay's second film "Morvern Callar" (2002). She gives a breathtakingly, controlled performance as a grieving young woman, plugged into the tunes from her Walkman. She plays Morvern with a quiet intensity that is constantly shocking, while always remaining a sympathetic character.
Morton received a surprise Oscar-nomination for her performance as Sarah, a mother holding her family together, in Jim Sheridan's independent film "In America."
More recently, the actress has starred in Michael Winterbottom’s “Code 46” and Roger Michell’s “Enduring Love,” She appeared in cinemas alongside Johnny Depp and John Malkovich as the actress Elizabeth Barry in Laurence Dunsmore’s critically acclaimed “The Libertine” and with Peter O’Toole in Charles Sturridge’s remake of the classic “Lassie.” She also received a half–Lifetime Achievement Award from Dennis Hopper’s Cinevegas Film Festival.
During 2006, Morton made several films, including “Control,” playing Deborah Curtis in Anton Corbijn’s film about the life of the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis; Mary Queen of Scots alongside Cate Blanchett in Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to “Elizabeth,” “The Golden Age”; and Marilyn Monroe in Harmony Korine’s “Mister Lonely.”
Earlier this year, Morton was seen playing the part of Myra Hindley in the Channel 4 film “Lord Longford” opposite Jim Broadbent. She will start filming Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche” opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michelle Williams later this spring.