Brought up in Berkshire, Winslet studied drama from childhood and began her career in British television in 1991. She made her film debut in Heavenly Creatures (1994), for which she received praise. She garnered recognition for her supporting role in Sense and Sensibility (1995) before achieving global stardom with the epic romance Titanic (1997), which was the highest-grossing film of all time at that point. Winslet's performances in Iris (2001), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Finding Neverland (2004), Little Children (2006), Revolutionary Road (2008), The Dressmaker (2015) and Steve Jobs (2015) continued to draw praise from film critics. In 2008, film critic David Edelstein described her as "the best English-speaking film actress of her generation".
In addition to acting, Winslet has narrated documentaries and children's books. She was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children in 2000 for narrating Listen to the Storyteller. She has also provided her vocals to soundtracks of her films, including the single "What If" from Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001). Divorced from two film directors, Jim Threapleton and Sam Mendes, Winslet is currently married to businessman Ned Rocknroll.
Kate Elizabeth Winslet was born in Reading, Berkshire, England to Sally Anne (née Bridges), a barmaid, and Roger John Winslet, a swimming pool contractor. She has two sisters, Beth and Anna, and one brother, Joss Winslet.
Winslet began studying drama at the age of 11 at the Redroofs Theatre School, a co-educational independent school in Maidenhead, Berkshire, where she was head girl. At the age of 12, Winslet appeared in a television advertisement directed by filmmaker Tim Pope for Sugar Puffs cereal. Pope said her naturalism was "there from the start". During her teenage years, Winslet appeared in more than 20 stage productions of Reading-based Starmaker Theatre Company including lead parts such as Miss Hannigan in Annie, Mother Wolf in The Jungle Book and Lena Marelli in Bugsy Malone.
Winslet made her television debut with a co-starring role in the BBC children's science fiction serial Dark Season. This role was followed by appearances in the made-for-TV film Anglo-Saxon Attitudes in 1992, the sitcom Get Back and an episode of the medical drama Casualty in 1993.
In 1992, Winslet attended a casting call for Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures in London. Winslet auditioned for the role of Juliet Hulme, a teenager who assists in the murder of the mother of her best friend, Pauline Parker (played by Melanie Lynskey). The film included Winslet's singing debut, and her a cappella version of "Sono Andati", an aria from La bohème, was featured on the film's soundtrack. The film was released to favourable reviews in 1994 and won Jackson and partner Fran Walsh a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Winslet was awarded the Empire Award and London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actress of the Year for her performance. The Washington Post writer Desson Thomson commented: "As Juliet, Winslet is a bright-eyed ball of fire, lighting up every scene she’s in. She's offset perfectly by Lynskey, whose quietly smoldering Pauline completes the delicate, dangerous partnership". The same year from 7 April to 7 May, she appeared as Geraldine Barclay in What the Butler Saw for The Royal Exchange Theatre. For her performance in the play, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards.
The following year, Winslet auditioned for the role of Lucy Steele in the adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, featuring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. She was instead cast in the second leading role of Marianne Dashwood. Director Ang Lee admitted he was initially worried about the way Winslet had attacked her role in Heavenly Creatures and thus required her to exercise t'ai chi, read Austen-era Gothic novels and poetry, and work with a piano teacher to fit the grace of the role. Budgeted at US$16.5 million ($25.9 million in current year dollars) the film became a financial and critical success, resulting in a worldwide box office total of $135 million ($212.2 million) and various awards for Winslet, winning her both the BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award, and nominations for both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award.
In 1996, Winslet starred in both Jude and Hamlet. In Michael Winterbottom's Jude, based on the Victorian novel Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, she played Sue Bridehead, a young woman with suffragette leanings who falls in love with her cousin, played by Christopher Eccleston. Acclaimed among critics, it grossed $2.3 million ($3.5 million) worldwide. Richard Corliss of Time magazine said "Winslet is worthy of [...] the camera's scrupulous adoration. She's perfect, a modernist ahead of her time [...] and Jude is a handsome showcase for her gifts". Winslet played Ophelia, Hamlet's drowned lover, in Kenneth Branagh's all star-cast film version of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. The film garnered largely positive reviews and earned Winslet her second Empire Award.
In September 1996, Winslet began filming James Cameron's Titanic (1997), alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Gwyneth Paltrow, Claire Danes and Gabrielle Anwar had been considered for the role. When they turned it down, Winslet campaigned heavily for it by sending Cameron daily notes from England and, thanks to assistance from her agent Hylda Queally, Cameron eventually invited her to Hollywood for auditions. Cameron described the character as "an Audrey Hepburn type" and was initially uncertain about casting Winslet even after her screen test impressed him. After she screen tested with DiCaprio, Winslet was so thoroughly impressed with him that she whispered to Cameron, "He's great. Even if you don't pick me, pick him". Winslet sent Cameron a single rose with a card signed "From Your Rose" and lobbied him by phone. "You don't understand!", she pleaded one day when she reached him by mobile phone in his Humvee. "I am Rose! I don't know why you're even seeing anyone else!". Her persistence, as well as her talent, eventually convinced him to cast her in the role.
Cast as the sensitive, free-spirited seventeen-year-old Rose DeWitt Bukater, a fictional first-class socialite who would survive the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, Winslet's experience was emotionally demanding. "Titanic was totally different and nothing could have prepared me for it. [...] We were really scared about the whole adventure. [...] Jim [Cameron] is a perfectionist, a real genius at making movies. But there was all this bad press before it came out and that was really upsetting". Against expectations, the film went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time, grossing more than $2,186,800,000 in box-office receipts worldwide, and transformed Winslet into a commercial movie star. Subsequently, she was nominated for most of the high-profile awards, winning a European Film Award.
Hideous Kinky, a low-budget romance film shot before the release of Titanic, was Winslet's only film of 1998. Winslet had rejected offers to play the leading roles in Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Anna and the King (1999) in favour of the role of a young English mother named Julia who moves with her daughters from London to Morocco hoping to start a new life. The film garnered generally mixed reviews and received only limited distribution, resulting in a worldwide gross of $5 million ($7.2 million). The next film Winslet starred in was Holy Smoke! (1999), featuring Harvey Keitel. Feeling pressured, Winslet has said she "never saw Titanic as a springboard for bigger films or bigger pay cheques", knowing that "it could have been that, but would have destroyed [her]". That same year she voiced Brigid in the computer animated film Faeries.
Winslet appeared in the period piece Quills with Geoffrey Rush and Joaquin Phoenix, released in 2000 and inspired by the life and work of the Marquis de Sade. The actress served as somewhat of a "patron saint" of the film for being the first big name to back it, accepting the role of a chambermaid in the asylum and the courier of the Marquis' manuscripts to the underground publishers. Well received by critics, the film garnered numerous accolades for Winslet, including nominations for SAG and Satellite Awards. The film was a modest arthouse success, averaging $27,709 ($38,536) per screen its debut weekend, and eventually grossing $18 million ($25.0 million) internationally.
In 2001's Enigma, Winslet played a young woman who finds herself falling for a brilliant young World War II code breaker, played by Dougray Scott. It was her first war film and Winslet regarded "making Enigma a brilliant experience" as she was five months pregnant at the time of the shoot, forcing some tricky camera work from the director Michael Apted. Generally well-received, Winslet was awarded a British Independent Film Award for her performance and A. O. Scott of The New York Times described Winslet as "more crush-worthy than ever". In the same year, Winslet appeared in Richard Eyre's critically acclaimed film Iris, portraying novelist Iris Murdoch. She shared her role with Judi Dench, with both actresses portraying Murdoch at different phases of her life. Subsequently, each of them was nominated for an Academy Award the following year, earning Winslet her third nomination. Also in 2001, she voiced the character Belle in the animated motion picture Christmas Carol: The Movie, based on the Charles Dickens classic novel. For the film, Winslet recorded the song "What If", which was released in November 2001 as a single with proceeds donated to two of Winslet's favourite charities, the N.S.P.C.C. and the Sargeant Cancer Foundation for Children. A Europe-wide top ten hit, it reached number one in Austria, Belgium and Ireland, number six on the UK Singles Chart, and won the 2002 OGAE Song Contest.
Her next film role was in the 2003 drama The Life of David Gale, in which she played an ambitious journalist who interviews a death-sentenced professor, played by Kevin Spacey, in his final weeks before execution. The film underperformed at international box offices, garnering only half of its $50,000,000 budget, and generating mostly critical reviews, with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times calling it a "silly movie".
Following The Life of David Gale, Winslet appeared with Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), a neosurrealistic indie-drama by French director Michel Gondry. In the film, she played the role of Clementine Kruczynski, a chatty, spontaneous and somewhat neurotic woman who decides to have all memories of her ex-boyfriend erased from her mind. The role was a departure from her previous roles, with Winslet revealing in an interview with Variety that she was initially upended about her casting in the film: "This was not the type of thing I was being offered [...] I was just thrilled that there was something he had seen in me, in spite of the corsets, that he thought was going to work for Clementine". The film was a critical and financial success. Winslet received rave reviews for her Academy Award-nominated performance, which Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described as "electrifying and bruisingly vulnerable".
Her final film in 2004 was Finding Neverland. The story of the production focused on Scottish writer J. M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) and his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Winslet), whose sons inspired him to pen the classic play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. During promotion of the film, Winslet noted of her portrayal "It was very important for me in playing Sylvia that I was already a mother myself, because I don’t think I could have played that part if I didn’t know what it felt like to be a parent and have those responsibilities and that amount of love that you give to a child [...] and I've always got a baby somewhere, or both of them, all over my face". The film received favourable reviews and proved to be an international success, becoming Winslet's highest-grossing film since Titanic with a total of $118 million worldwide.
In 2005, Winslet appeared in an episode of the BBC/HBO comedy series Extras by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, as a satirical version of herself. While dressed as a nun, she was portrayed giving phone sex tips to the romantically challenged character of Maggie. Her performance in the episode led to her first nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award. In Romance & Cigarettes (2005), a musical romantic comedy written and directed by John Turturro, she played the character Tula, described by Winslet as "a slut, someone who’s essentially foulmouthed and has bad manners and really doesn’t know how to dress". Hand-picked by Turturro, who was impressed with her display of dancing ability in Holy Smoke!, Winslet was praised for her performance, which included her interpretation of Connie Francis's "Scapricciatiello (Do You Love Me Like You Kiss Me)". Derek Elley of Variety wrote: "Onscreen less, but blessed with the showiest role, filthiest one-liners [and] a perfect Lancashire accent that's comical enough in the Gotham setting Winslet throws herself into the role with an infectious gusto".
After declining an invitation to appear in Woody Allen's film Match Point (2005), Winslet stated that she wanted to be able to spend more time with her children. She began 2006 with All the King's Men, featuring Sean Penn and Jude Law. Winslet played the role of Anne Stanton, the childhood sweetheart of Jack Burden (Law). The film was critically and financially unsuccessful. Todd McCarthy of Variety summed it up as "overstuffed and fatally miscast [...] Absent any point of engagement to become involved in the characters, the film feels stillborn and is unlikely to stir public excitement, even in an election year".
Winslet fared far better when she co-starred in Todd Field's Little Children, playing Sarah Pierce, a bored housewife who has a torrid affair with a married neighbour, played by Patrick Wilson. Both her performance and the film received rave reviews; A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "In too many recent movies intelligence is woefully undervalued, and it is this quality—even more than its considerable beauty—that distinguishes Little Children from its peers. The result is a film that is challenging, accessible and hard to stop thinking about. Ms. Winslet, as fine an actress as any working in movies today, registers every flicker of Sarah’s pride, self-doubt and desire, inspiring a mixture of recognition, pity and concern that amounts, by the end of the movie, to something like love. That Ms. Winslet is so lovable makes the deficit of love in Sarah’s life all the more painful". For her work in the film, she was honoured with a Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year from BAFTA/LA, a Los Angeles-based offshoot of the BAFTA Awards, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and, at the age of 31, became the youngest actress to ever garner five Oscar nominations.
She followed Little Children with a role in Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy The Holiday, also starring Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black. In it she played Iris, a British woman who temporarily exchanges homes with an American woman (Diaz). Released to a mixed reception by critics, the film became Winslet's biggest commercial success in nine years, grossing more than $205 million worldwide. Also in 2006, Winslet provided her voice for several smaller projects. In the CG-animated Flushed Away, she voiced Rita, a scavenging sewer rat who helps Roddy (Hugh Jackman) escape from the city of Ratropolis and return to his luxurious Kensington origins. A critical and commercial success, the film collected $177,665,672 at international box offices.
In 2007, Winslet reunited with Leonardo DiCaprio to film Revolutionary Road (2008), directed by her husband at the time, Sam Mendes. Winslet had suggested that both should work with her on a film adaptation of the 1961 novel of the same name by Richard Yates after reading the script by Justin Haythe. Resulting in both "a blessing and an added pressure" on-set, the reunion was her first experience working with Mendes. Portraying a couple in a failing marriage in the 1950s, DiCaprio and Winslet watched period videos promoting life in the suburbs to prepare themselves for the film, which earned them favourable reviews. In his review of the film, David Edelstein of New York magazine stated that "[t]here isn’t a banal moment in Winslet’s performance—not a gesture, not a word. Is Winslet now the best English-speaking film actress of her generation? I think so". Winslet was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her performance, her seventh nomination from the Golden Globes.
Also released in late 2008, the film competed against Winslet's other project, a film adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's 1995 novel The Reader, directed by Stephen Daldry and featuring Ralph Fiennes and David Kross in supporting roles. Originally the first choice for her role, she was initially not able to take on the role due to a scheduling conflict with Revolutionary Road and Nicole Kidman replaced her. A month after filming began, Kidman left the film due to her pregnancy enabling Winslet to rejoin the film. Employing a German accent, Winslet portrayed a former Nazi concentration camp guard who has an affair with a teenager (Kross) who, as an adult, witnesses her war crimes trial. She later said the role was difficult for her, as she was naturally unable "to sympathise with an SS guard". Because the film required full frontal nudity, a merkin was made for her. In an interview for Allure, she related how she refused to use it: "Guys, I am going to have to draw the line at a pubic wig". While the film garnered mixed reviews in general, Winslet received favourable reviews for her performance. The following year, she earned her sixth Academy Award nomination and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2011, Winslet headlined in the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, a small screen adaptation of James M. Cain's 1941 novel of the same name, directed by Todd Haynes. Co-starring Guy Pearce and Evan Rachel Wood, she portrayed a self-sacrificing mother during the Great Depression who finds herself separated from her husband and falling in love with a new man, all the while trying to earn her narcissistic daughter's love and respect. Broadcast to moderate ratings, the five-part series earned generally favourable reviews, with Salon.com calling it a "quiet, heartbreaking masterpiece". Winslet won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie for her performance.
Also in 2011, Winslet appeared in Steven Soderbergh's film Contagion, featuring an ensemble cast consisting of Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. The thriller follows the rapid progress of a lethal indirect contact transmission virus that kills within days. Winslet portrayed an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer who becomes infected with the disease over the course of her investigation. Winslet's other 2011 film project, Roman Polanski's Carnage, premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. An adaptation of the play God of Carnage by French playwright Yasmina Reza, the black comedy follows two sets of parents who meet up to talk after their children have been in a fight. Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz co-starred in the film, which critics felt was not as "compelling on the screen as it was on the stage", but made "up for its flaws with Polanski's smooth direction and assured performances from Winslet and Foster". For her performance, Winslet received a second nomination by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that year.
In 2012, Winslet's audiobook performance of Émile Zola's Thérèse Raquin was released at Audible.com. AudioFile's review said, "Kate Winslet reads as though she is relishing every morsel of the drama [...] She clearly loves the book and her pleasure in the text is infectious. She grabs listeners and doesn’t let go". Her first 2013 release was Movie 43, an independent anthology black comedy film that featured 14 different storylines, with each segment having a different director. Winslet's segment, titled The Catch, was directed by Peter Farrelly and revolves around a single businesswoman who goes on a blind date with the city's most eligible bachelor, played by Hugh Jackman, only to be shocked when he removes his scarf, revealing a pair of testicles dangling from his neck. This marked Winslet's second collaboration with Jackman, following the 2006 animated film Flushed Away. The compilation film was universally panned by critics, with the Chicago Sun-Times calling it "the Citizen Kane of awful".
In 2013, Winslet appeared in Jason Reitman's big screen adaptation of Joyce Maynard's 2009 novel Labor Day, also starring Josh Brolin, which she declared as "a very romantic movie, though a bizarre one". While the film was met with a generally mixed reception from critics, Winslet received favorable reviews for her portrayal of Adele, a mentally fragile, repressed single mom of a 13-year-old son who gives shelter to an escaped prisoner during a long summer week-end. For her performance, Winslet earned her tenth Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. Winslet then appeared in Divergent (2014), Neil Burger's film adaptation of the 2011 young adult novel by Veronica Roth. She appeared as erudite leader Jeanine Matthews, whom she compared to "Hitler" and on playing the antagonist first time, Winslet said, "The idea went through my head that I have never played a baddie before, I was almost kind of surprised". Her performance met with positive response from critics, as Screendaily thought that her performance was "understated", while IndieWire noted that she was "pure poison as Jeanine Matthews". The film grossed US$288.7 million worldwide.
In late 2014, Winslet appeared alongside Matthias Schoenaerts in Alan Rickman's period drama A Little Chaos about rival landscape gardeners commissioned by Louis XIV to create a fountain at Versailles. Despite receiving little praise from critics, Winslet's performance of assistant designer Sabine de Barra earned positive reviews. The Guardian noted that "Winslet manages emotional honesty within anachronistic confines" and Vanity Fair said, "She glows with ambition and ache, playing a woman with a tragic past seeking refuge in the meticulousness and inventiveness of her work". The same year, she also narrated Roald Dahl's children's novel Matilda, for which AudioFile in its review said, "She (Winslet) saves her panache for her characterizations. While Winslet’s Matilda is modestly soft-spoken, she scales her vocal register as the ranting Wormwood parents, booms as Miss Trunchbull, and breathily voices the adored Miss Honey". She won the Odyssey Award for her performance.
Winslet started 2015 by reprising her role of Jeanine Matthews in the second installment of the Divergent trilogy, entitled The Divergent Series: Insurgent, making it the first sequel she has ever appeared in. Forbes described her performance as a "murderous tyrant". while TheWrap said the film "Perks up" during her scenes. The film grossed US$297 million worldwide. She next appeared in Jocelyn Moorhouse's The Dressmaker based on the novel of same name, in which she stars as a femme fatale in the title role. Justin Chang of Variety called her performance "crucial, stabilizing anchor" of the film, as he wrote that "Winslet, a difficult actress to root against under any circumstances, has us in her palm from the moment she steps into frame, looking like an avenging dark angel bathed in [1950s] noir shadows" and The Star called her "smashing as Tilly Dunnage". Winslet won an AACTA Award for Best Actress, for her performance in the film.
Winslet's final film of 2015 was Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs (2015), alongside Michael Fassbender, about backstage events before three different computer product launches. Winslet received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Joanna Hoffman, Macintosh marketing chief, Jobs' right-hand woman and work wife. IndieWire noted, "buried under makeup and a distinctive Polish accent, Winslet's chameleonesque transformation", Time Out called it "steady and brilliant" and HitFix said "Winslet gives one of the best performances of her career providing Hoffman with a gravitas that isn’t always in the script". She received her seventh Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress along with a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild and went on to win the Golden Globe Award and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal.
Winslet had two releases in 2016. In John Hillcoat's crime-thriller Triple 9, she co-starred as a Russian-Israeli mafia moll, described by Hillcoat as "a really glamorous, nasty piece of work". She received strong notices for her performance by the critics as Tom Huddleston of The Wrap said that "Winslet practically rips the screen in two as the mad-eyed Russian mob boss" and Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter described her performance as "commandingly and wittily, in a way that makes you instantly want to see her as Lady Macbeth". Next, she appeared in David Frankel's ensemble drama Collateral Beauty, released in December 2016, and also starring Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Edward Norton. The "cold and crass Christmas Carol remake" was largely panned by critics, with Vulture commenting that Winslet has "never looked more painted and tired".
In October 2017, Winslet star in Hany Abu-Assad's romantic-disaster film The Mountain Between Us alongside Idris Elba. Portraying photojournalist Alex Martin, she received positive responses from critics with The Hollywood Reporter describing it as "charming" and "likeable", while ScreenDaily describe her performance as "subtle emotional evolution".
As of March 2017, Winslet has various film projects in different states of production. She has completed filming for Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel alongside Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple and Jim Belushi, set in 1950's Coney Island. In addition, she would also star in a biopic based on American fashion model, artist and war correspondent Elizabeth "Lee" Miller during World War II.
While on the set of the 1991 TV series Dark Season, Winslet met actor and writer Stephen Tredre, with whom she had a four-and-a-half-year relationship. Winslet and Tredre remained close after their separation in 1995. He died of bone cancer during the opening week of Titanic, causing her to miss the film's Los Angeles premiere to attend his funeral in London.
On 22 November 1998, Winslet married film director Jim Threapleton, whom she met while on the set of Hideous Kinky in 1997. They have a daughter, Mia Honey Threapleton, who was born on 12 October 2000 in London. Winslet and Threapleton divorced on 13 December 2001.
Following her separation from Threapleton, Winslet began a relationship with director Sam Mendes in 2001, and married him on 24 May 2003 on the island of Anguilla. Their son, Joe Alfie Winslet Mendes, was born on 22 December 2003 in New York City. Winslet and Mendes announced their separation in March 2010 and divorced in 2011.
In August 2011, a fire broke out at a residence in which Winslet, her children and her then-boyfriend, model Louis Dowler, were staying on Necker Island, the private resort island of Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. The fire caused significant damage to the home, but no injuries.
During the same August 2011 holiday on Necker Island, Winslet met fellow guest Ned Rocknroll and they soon began dating. Rocknroll was born Ned Abel Smith, but later legally changed his name. He is a nephew of Richard Branson and works for Virgin Galactic, the space-travel division of his uncle's business. Rocknroll was previously married to Eliza Pearson, daughter of Viscount Cowdray. Winslet and Rocknroll became engaged in the summer of 2012. It was announced in September 2012 that the couple had relocated from New York to live in the United Kingdom permanently, first moving to a heritage home in the South Downs National Park at Treyford, near Harting. Then after a planning spat with the local authorities, over her intention to install some new gates at the entrance to the property, she sold it in 2014 and moved to West Wittering, West Sussex. Winslet and Rocknroll married in a private ceremony in New York in December 2012. The couple's son, Bear Blaze Winslet, was born in the County of Sussex, England on 7 December 2013.
Winslet's weight fluctuations over the years have been well documented by the media. She has been outspoken about her refusal to allow Hollywood to dictate her weight. In February 2003, the British edition of GQ magazine published photographs of Winslet that had been digitally altered to make her look dramatically thinner. Winslet issued a statement that the alterations were made without her consent, saying, "I just didn't want people to think I was a hypocrite and that I'd suddenly lost 30 lbs or whatever". GQ subsequently issued an apology. In 2007, she won a libel suit against Grazia magazine after it claimed that she had visited a diet doctor. She won another libel suit in 2009 against the British tabloid Daily Mail after it printed that she had lied about her exercise regimen. Winslet stated that she had requested an apology to demonstrate her commitment to the views that she has always expressed regarding women's body issues, namely that women should accept their appearance with pride.
Although Winslet is not a vegetarian, she narrated a video for PETA in 2010. In the video, she encouraged chefs to remove foie gras from their menus and asked consumers to boycott restaurants that serve it.
Winslet narrated the documentary A Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism, which focused on Keli Thorsteinsson, who has autism, and his mother, Margret Ericsdottir. The documentary was generally released on 24 September 2010, after airing on HBO in April of the same year. Her involvement in the documentary led to her founding the non-profit organisation, the Golden Hat Foundation, whose mission is to eliminate barriers for people living with autism. She also wrote a book titled The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism, which contains personal statements and self-portraits from number of celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine. In 2011, Winslet received the Yo Dona award for Best Humanitarian Work for her work with the Golden Hat.
Winslet is the face of cosmetic and perfume house Lancôme and she joined Longines as their "Ambassador of Elegance" in 2010. In 2011, Lancôme collaborated with Winslet's Golden Hat Foundation to raise funds for the organization to help people with autism.
Winslet supports ageing naturally and has always spoken against plastic surgery and botox. In 2015, Winslet appeared in Running Wild with Bear Grylls and talked about being bullied at school by her classmates, saying that "I was chubby, always had big feet, the wrong shoes, bad hair". The same year, she narrated anti-bullying animated short film Daisy Chain, about a victim of cyber-bullying.
In November 2015, Winslet stated that speaking publicly about the Hollywood wage gap was "vulgar. [...] I'm quite surprised by these conversations to be honest, simply because it seems quite a strange thing to be discussing out in the open like that. I am a very lucky woman and I'm quite happy with how things are ticking along". Later next month, she clarified more about her stance on the issue that "Jennifer Lawrence is amazing for speaking up and I think that anyone in this industry, particularly women, if there’s something strongly that they feel isn’t working for them or if they’re being discriminated against in any way, shape or form, it’s very, very important to speak up and so I fully applaud that. What I have a problem with is that there’s a separate thing that has started happening is that the lid has been somewhat lifted for journalists, and so journalists on red carpets will now say, ‘So how do you feel about the gender pay gap?’. ‘What? What’s the specific question?’. ‘Well, do you know that you got paid less or more than Michael Fassbender?’. That question? That to me is not very nice. I’m not going to have that conversation with a friend or even a family member, let alone in public. And so what’s happened as a result of these big very important discussions is that we’re then subjected to a particular line of questioning that being a Brit strikes me as being a little bit vulgar. Why would I stand on a red carpet and talk about how much I get paid?".
In July 2017, she auctioned a private dinner with herself and Leonardo DiCaprio to help raise funds for cancer stricken mother.
Winslet in her career of over two decades has appeared in different genres of films, ranging from crime drama Heavenly Creatures (1994) to period drama Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Titanic (1997), to sci-fi dramedy Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and to young-adult action Divergent (2014). As of August 2017, Winslet's films have grossed over US$4.0 billion worldwide.
Winslet won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Reader (2008). She won two Golden Globe Awards in the same year; Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for Revolutionary Road and Best Supporting Actress for The Reader, becoming the third actress to achieve the feat, after Joan Plowright and Sigourney Weaver. She has won three BAFTA Awards: Best Actress for The Reader and Best Supporting Actress for Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Steve Jobs (2016). She has earned a total of seven Academy Award nominations, eleven Golden Globe nominations and eight BAFTA nominations.
She has received numerous awards from other organizations, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress for Iris (2001) and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Sense and Sensibility and The Reader. Premiere magazine named her portrayal of Clementine Kruczynski in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) as the 81st greatest film performance of all time.
At age 31, Winslet set the mark as the youngest actor to receive five nominations for Little Children (2006). She surpassed Bette Davis, who was 33 when she received her fifth nomination for her performance in The Little Foxes (1941). With her Best Actress nomination for The Reader, Winslet became the youngest actress to receive six Oscar nominations. At age 33, Winslet passed the mark Davis, one year older, set with Now, Voyager (1942).
Winslet received Academy Award nominations as the younger versions of the characters played by fellow nominees Gloria Stuart, as Rose, in Titanic (1997) and Judi Dench, as Iris Murdoch, in Iris. These are the only instances of the younger and older versions of a character in the same film both yielding Academy Award nominations, thus making Winslet the only actor to twice share an Oscar nomination with another for portraying the same character.
When she was not nominated for her work in Revolutionary Road, Winslet became only the second actress to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress Drama without getting an Oscar nomination for the same performance (Shirley MacLaine was the first for 1988's Madame Sousatzka). Academy rules allow an actor to receive no more than one nomination in a given category, as the Academy nominating process determined that Winslet's work in The Reader would be considered a lead performance—unlike the Golden Globes, which considered it a supporting performance—she could not also receive a Best Actress nomination for Revolutionary Road.
In 2000, Winslet won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for Listen To the Storyteller. She was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for playing herself in a 2005 episode of Extras. At the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, Winslet won for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her role as the title character in Mildred Pierce. In 2014, American Library Association presented her with the Odyssey Award for her audiobook performance of Roald Dahl's children's novel Matilda.
In 2007, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honoured Winslet with the Britannia Award. In 2009, she received the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Modern Master (Montecito) Award in recognition of her accomplishments in the film industry. In 2011, Madame Tussauds unveiled a wax statue of her draped in the Elie Saab dress she wore at 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
In 2012, Winslet was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for the Birthday Honours for services to drama. That same year, she was honoured with an Honorary César Award. Also in 2012, she was selected for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On 17 March 2014, Winslet received the star on 6262 Hollywood Boulevard, which was unveiled on Saint Patrick's Day by Winslet with James Cameron and Kathy Bates as guest speakers at the unveiling ceremony.
In 2015, the Film Society of Lincoln Center honoured Winslet at the 53rd New York Film Festival for her contributions to arts and BAFTA with a special career tribute titled BAFTA A Life in Pictures. In November 2017, she will be honoured with Actors Inspiration Award by SAG-AFTRA for both her entertainment and philanthropic work.