Blunt received her fourth and fifth Golden Globe Award nominations for her roles in the romantic comedy-drama Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012) and the musical fantasy Into the Woods (2014) in the Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical category. In 2016, Blunt starred in the fantasy-action film The Huntsman: Winter's War and The Girl on the Train, the latter based on the international best-selling novel of the same name, and a performance that earned her nominations for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. She is set to portray Mary Poppins in the upcoming musical fantasy film Mary Poppins Returns (2018).
Blunt was born in Wandsworth, London. She is the second of four children born to Joanna (née Mackie), a former actress and teacher, and barrister Oliver Simon Peter Blunt. Her siblings are Felicity, Sebastian, and Susannah. Her grandfather was Major-General Peter Blunt, and one of her paternal uncles is Crispin Blunt, Conservative Member of Parliament for Reigate.
From the age of seven to 14, Blunt struggled with stuttering. She credits a school teacher for helping her overcome the stutter through acting. She went on to sit on the board of directors for the American Institute for Stuttering. Blunt attended Ibstock Place School in Roehampton, southwest London and, at the age of 16, went to Hurtwood House in Dorking, Surrey, a private sixth-form college known for its performing arts program. There, she was discovered by an agent.
In November 2001, Blunt made her professional debut opposite Judi Dench in Sir Peter Hall's production of the play The Royal Family, in which she played the role of the granddaughter Gwen to Dench's Fanny Cavendish. Critic Tom Keatinge hailed the production, writing that "Peter Hall's direction and Anthony Ward's tremendous set combine with all this to make The Royal Family a terrific night's entertainment," and that "More importantly though, it provides a vehicle for acting of the finest quality, with strong performances from the whole ensemble..." For her performance, Blunt was named "Best Newcomer" by The Evening Standard. She went on to perform as Eugenie in Nicholas Wright's Vincent in Brixton at the National Theatre, and as Juliet in Indhu Rubasingham's production of Romeo and Juliet at Chichester Festival Theatre, both in 2002. In 2003, Blunt made her screen debut in the British television drama Boudica, about the life of the ancient Celtic warrior-queen who fought the Romans. That same year, she was praised for her performance as the 16th-century Queen Catherine Howard in the two-part British television drama Henry VIII.
In 2004, Blunt received considerable attention for her performance as Tamsin in the independent British drama My Summer of Love, a love story revolving around two young women from different social and economic backgrounds in the English countryside. Director Pawel Pawlikowski was highly appraisal of Blunt and co-star Natalie Press, stating in an interview that "Both Natalie and Emily were extremely different and very original, which is a rare thing nowadays. They avoid the obvious, and are capable of playing complex and conflicting attitudes. Above all, they had energy, which is key for a movie." James Berardinelli of ReelViews praised the film, calling it a "gem" lost in the "hype" of Hollywood blockbusters, and noted that "Both Natalie Press and Emily Blunt [...] are superlative. They nail their cinematic alter-egos effortlessly, using verbal and non-verbal cues to tap into their emotions. They understand their characters and use their talents to bring them to life." She shared the Evening Standard British Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer with Press.
Blunt starred opposite Bill Nighy and Miranda Richardson in the British television drama Gideon's Daughter, based on an original screenplay written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff, where she played the troubled only child of New Labour spin doctor Gideon Warner, played by Nighy. The film premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 2005, and debuted on British television in February 2006. Praised for its "sterling performances," Blunt won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for her performance.
She then featured opposite Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in the comedy The Devil Wears Prada, set in the fashion world in New York City. Blunt played Emily, the senior assistant of Runway magazine editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly, played by Streep. The film was a commercial and critical success, grossing $326,551,094 Though Streep garnered most of the attention for her role, Blunt's performance was equally praised, with Clifford Pugh of The Houston Chronicle asserting that "[Blunt] has many of the movie's best lines and steals nearly every scene she's in." Blunt was nominated the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture for her performance. She attended the 79th Academy Awards where she co-presented the award for best costume design with Hathaway, with both acting as their characters from the film. Blunt then co-starred with Susan Sarandon in the independent drama Irresistible.
Blunt's profile continued to rise, and in 2007, she appeared in four films: the horror film Wind Chill, the romantic drama The Jane Austen Book Club, the comedy Dan in Real Life, and the historical comedy-drama Charlie Wilson's War, and in the latter, Blunt played one of the mistresses of Tom Hanks' Charlie Wilson. In 2008, Blunt appeared in two films, Sunshine Cleaning in the role of Norah Lorkowski, an underachiever who starts a crime-scene cleanup business with her sister Rose, played by Amy Adams. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, where it received positive reviews, particularly for Adams' and Blunt's performances. Peter Travers of Rolling Stones magazine commented "This funny and touching movie depends on two can-do actresses to scrub past the biohazard of noxious clichés that threaten to intrude. Adams and Blunt get the job done." A.O. Scott of The New York Times agreed, stating "Amy Adams and Emily Blunt [...] attack their roles with vivacity and dedication..." She then starred in The Great Buck Howard as Valerie Brennan, which premiered at the same festival.
In 2009, Blunt portrayed Queen Victoria in the independent drama The Young Victoria, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Julian Fellowes, which focused primarily on her early life and reign, as well as her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Blunt's performance earned critical accolades, and she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress, among others. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly concluded that "Director Jean-Marc Vallée's images have a creamy stateliness, but this is no gilded princess fantasy — it's the story of a budding ruler who learns to control her surroundings, and Blunt makes that journey at once authentic and relevant."
She also starred in the Toby Spanton-directed short film Curiosity, and was director Jon Favreau's first choice to play Black Widow in Iron Man 2; due to scheduling conflicts with her role in the comedy Gulliver's Travels, she was forced her to cede the role to Scarlett Johansson. She also voiced Angelina's mother, Matilda Mouseling, in the television series, Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps. In 2010, Blunt co-starred with Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins in the horror film The Wolfman, a re-adaptation of the classic 1941 film of the same name. She then starred in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau alongside Matt Damon, as a dancer "being mysteriously kept apart" from Damon's character, a politician. The film earned generally positive reviews, with critics praising Blunt's and Damon's chemistry. Blunt was offered the role of Agent Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, but like the offer for Iron Man 2, she turned it down.
In 2011, Blunt was named the ambassador of the new Yves Saint Laurent fragrance, Opium. Blunt then starred in the British comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, directed by Lasse Hallström and co-starring Ewan McGregor and Kristin Scott Thomas. She played a financial adviser who recruits a fisheries expert, played by McGregor, to help realize a sheikh's vision of bringing the sport of fly fishing to the Yemen desert, resulting in a spiritual journey for both in the process. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, receiving positive reviews, as did Blunt's and McGregor's performances. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times noted "Blunt and McGregor are two of the most gifted and attractive actors working today, able to play off each other with great style..." Blunt was nominated the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for her performance. Also that year, she made a cameo appearance in Disney's The Muppets, as Miss Piggy's receptionist, and starred in the independent comedy-dramaYour Sister's Sister, alongside Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass
In 2012, Blunt starred in the comedy The Five-Year Engagement, directed by Nicholas Stoller and co-starring Jason Segel, in which she and Segel played a couple whose relationship becomes strained when their engagement is continually extended. The film earned positive reviews, with Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News remarking that "Blunt has never been more relaxed, and she and Segel have a believably warm chemistry." She then starred in Looper, a neo-noir science-fiction thriller directed by Rian Johnson and co-starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Blunt played Sara, a tough farm woman and single mother, who aids and falls in love with Gordon-Levitt's character. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it served as the opening film, and earned highly positive feedback. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter credited Blunt for "effectively [revealing] Sara's tough and vulnerable sides." Also that year, she starred in the comedy-drama Arthur Newman with Colin Firth, as the troubled Charlotte, who is trying to run away from her past. The film received generally mixed to negative reviews.
In 2014, Blunt starred opposite Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow, a film adaptation of the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Blunt played Rita Vrataski, a Special Forces warrior tasked with training a public relations officer, played by Cruise, to defeat invading extraterrestrials. Blunt trained three months for her role, "focusing on everything from weights to sprints to yoga, aerial wire work and gymnastics", and studying Krav Maga. The film was commercially successful, grossing $370,541,256, and it earned positive reviews. Many critics took note of the atypically dominating role portrayed by Blunt, and Justin Chang of Variety noted that "Blunt is alert, energized and emotionally present in a none-too-taxing role." For her performance, Blunt won the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress in an Action Film.
Blunt then played the role of the Baker's wife in The Walt Disney Company's film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall and featuring an ensemble including James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and her The Devil Wears Prada co-star Meryl Streep as the Witch. Ironically, Blunt was pregnant throughout filming, while playing a character who is barren throughout the film's first act. The film was a commercial success and earned generally positive reviews, with Blunt earning praise for her acting and singing. Lou Lumenick of The New York Post felt it was one of the best female performances of the year, while Richard Corliss of Time remarked that "When Blunt is onscreen, these woods are alive with the magic of a fractured fairy tale..." She was nominated for her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for her performance.
In 2015, Blunt starred in the action crime-thriller Sicario, directed by Denis Villeneuve and co-starring Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin. Blunt played Kate Macer, a principled FBI agent assigned to take down the leader of a powerful Mexican drug cartel. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received critical acclaim. Blunt received considerable praise for her performance, with Dan Jolin of Empire magazine calling it "nuanced", and stating that "Her straight-arrow-sharp determination becomes painfully dulled," and while Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian found her character implausible, he praised Blunt for "[brazening] out any possible absurdity with great acting focus and front." She came 98th in FHM's Sexiest Women of 2015.
In 2016, Blunt first co-starred alongside Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron and Jessica Chastain in The Huntsman: Winter's War, directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, which serves as both a prequel and sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman. The film was a box office bomb and was mostly dismissed by critics.
Blunt then headlined the thriller The Girl on the Train, directed by Tate Taylor, and co-starring Luke Evans, Rebecca Ferguson, and Justin Theroux. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, written by Paula Hawkins, Blunt plays Rachel, an alcoholic divorcée who becomes involved in a missing persons investigation. Though the film earned mixed reviews from critics, who felt that it failed to live up to the novel, Blunt received unanimous praise for her performance. Peter Travers of Rolling Stones magazine commented that "[T]he movie gives away the game faster than the novel, but Emily Blunt digs so deep into the role of a blackout drunk and maybe murderer that she raises Girl to the level of spellbinder." She received a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, her first from the organization.
Blunt appears in her first villain role in My Little Pony: The Movie, where she voices as Tempest Shadow. Blunt has officially signed on to play the title character (originally played by Julie Andrews) in the 2018 film, Mary Poppins Returns, which will serve as the sequel to the 1964 film.
Blunt had a three-year relationship with Canadian singer Michael Bublé. They met in 2005, while backstage at the Australian television Logie Awards in Melbourne. They later shared a home in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, before breaking up in 2008.
In November 2008, Blunt began dating American actor John Krasinski. They became engaged in August 2009, and married on 10 July 2010 in Como, Italy. They have two daughters, Hazel (born 2014) and Violet (born 2016).
Blunt's brother-in-law is her The Devil Wears Prada co-star Stanley Tucci. In 2012, Tucci married Blunt's sister Felicity, who works as a literary agent. Blunt introduced the couple. Her brother Sebastian is also an actor.
In August 2015, Blunt became naturalized as an American citizen. She took dual-citizenship in the United States, suggesting the status helped her tax and visa situation. She said she felt conflicted over abandoning her sole allegiance to the United Kingdom.