She is the daughter of director, producer and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola, and made her film debut as an infant in her father's acclaimed 1972 crime drama The Godfather. She later appeared in a supporting role in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and portrayed Mary Corleone, the daughter of Michael Corleone, in The Godfather: Part III (1990). The latter film earned her much derision and critical backlash, effectively ending her acting career. Coppola then turned her attention to film-making.
At the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Coppola became the second woman (and the first American woman) in the festival's history to win the Best Director award, for the movie The Beguiled.
Sofia Coppola was born in New York City, New York, the youngest child and only daughter of set decorator/artist Eleanor Coppola (née Neil) and director Francis Ford Coppola. Her father is of Italian descent. She was raised on her parents' farm in Rutherford, California, a rural area in Napa Valley, and graduated from St. Helena High School in 1989. She later attended Mills College and the California Institute of the Arts. At fifteen, she interned with Chanel. After dropping out of college, Coppola started a clothing line called Milkfed, which is now sold exclusively in Japan. Among her extensive Hollywood family is her aunt Talia Shire and her first cousins Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwartzman.
Coppola's acting career, marked by frequent criticisms of nepotism and negative reviews, began while she was an infant, as she made background appearances in seven of her father's films. The best known of these early roles is her appearance in The Godfather as the infant Michael Francis Rizzi in the baptism scene. Coppola returned to her father's trilogy in both the second and third Godfather films, playing an immigrant child in Part II and playing Michael Corleone's daughter in Part III, after the originally cast actress Winona Ryder discontinued her involvement with the film. Coppola responded to a question about her role in The Godfather Part III in a 2013 interview:
Let's see. Did I not wanna do it? Um. I was game. I was trying different things. It sounded better than college. I didn't really think about the public aspect of it. That took me by surprise. The whole reaction. People felt very attached to the Godfather films. I grew up with them being no big deal. I mean, I understand they're great films but... I dunno. I'm not surprised. It makes sense that people would have an opinion about it but I got a lot of attention I wasn't expecting. I was going to art school anyway so I was able to get back to what I was doing. It was before the Internet so magazines would come out but then the next month they were gone. There wasn't even as much paparazzi around then.
Coppola also acted in her father's films The Outsiders (1983), in a scene where Matt Dillon, Tommy Howell, and Ralph Macchio are eating at a Dairy Queen; Rumble Fish (1983); The Cotton Club (1984); and as Kathleen Turner's sister Nancy Kelcher in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) who she would later work with on her feature film directing debut, The Virgin Suicides.
Frankenweenie (1984) was the first film that she performed in that was not associated with her father; however, it often goes unnoted due to her stage name "Domino", which she adopted at the time because she thought it was glamorous. The 1989 short film, entitled Life Without Zoe, was released as part of a tripartite anthology film New York Stories, and was co-written by a teenage Coppola with her father, who also directed the film.
After she was critically panned for her performance in The Godfather Part III, for which she was named "Worst Supporting Actress" and "Worst New Star" at the 1990 Golden Raspberry Awards, Coppola ended her acting career, although she appeared in the 1992 independent film Inside Monkey Zetterland, as well as in the backgrounds of films by her friends and family: for example, she appeared as Saché in George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 1999. She has since been quoted as saying that she was not hurt by the criticism from her role in The Godfather Part III, because she never especially wanted an acting career.
Coppola also appears in several music videos from the 1990s: The Black Crowes' "Sometimes Salvation"; Sonic Youth's "Mildred Pierce"; Madonna's "Deeper and Deeper"; The Chemical Brothers' "Elektrobank", which was directed by her future husband Spike Jonze; and later Phoenix's "Funky Squaredance".
Coppola's first short film was Lick the Star (1998). It played many times on the Independent Film Channel. She made her feature film directing debut with The Virgin Suicides (1999). It received critical acclaim upon its premiere in North America at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and was released later that year.
Her second feature was Lost in Translation (2003). Coppola won the Academy Award for her original screenplay and three Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture Musical or Comedy. After Lina Wertmüller and Jane Campion, Coppola became the third female director to be nominated for an Academy Award for Directing and the second to win the Original Screenplay award, after Campion in 1994 (Wertmüller was also nominated), thus making a pattern for the female directors to be nominated for both awards. Her win for best original screenplay in 2003 made her a third-generation Oscar winner. In 2004, Coppola was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Her third film was the biopic Marie Antoinette, adapted from the biography by British historian Antonia Fraser. Kirsten Dunst plays the title character, who marries King Louis XVI, played by Jason Schwartzman, Coppola's cousin. It debuted at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival where, despite boos in the audience, it received a standing ovation. Critics were divided.
Her fourth film was Somewhere (2010). The movie was filmed at Chateau Marmont. The plot focuses on a "bad boy" actor portrayed by Stephen Dorff who is forced to reevaluate his life when his daughter, played by Elle Fanning, arrives unexpectedly. In November 2010, Coppola was interviewed by Joel Coen, who professed his admiration of Coppola's work, at the DGA screening of Somewhere in New York City.
Coppola's next film, The Bling Ring (2013), was based on actual events centered around the Bling Ring, a group of California teenagers who burgled the homes of several celebrities over 2008 and 2009, stealing around $3 million in cash and belongings. Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, and Claire Julien starred in the film. The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
An announcement in mid-December 2013 stated that American Zoetrope had successfully attained the screen rights for the memoir Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father and that Coppola will adapt the book with Andrew Durham. Coppola will also produce the film with her brother Roman.
In March 2014, it was reported that Coppola was in negotiations to direct a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid from a script by Caroline Thompson. Coppola wanted to shoot her version underwater, and although she later admitted that such a prospect was unrealistic, test footage was shot. In June 2015, it was announced Coppola had dropped out of the film due to creative differences.
Coppola collaborated again with her Lost in Translation star Bill Murray on A Very Murray Christmas, which starred Murray and was co-written by herself, Murray and Mitch Glazer. The film, an homage to classic Christmas-themed variety shows, was released in December 2015 on Netflix.
Coppola directed The Beguiled, a remake of the 1971 Western film of the same name, starring Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst. The film premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where Coppola became the second woman (and the first American woman) to win the Best Director award.
In the mid-1990s, she and best friend Zoe Cassavetes helmed the short-lived series Hi Octane on Comedy Central which spotlit performers in underground music. The show was cancelled after four episodes.
In December 2008, Coppola's first commercial premiered during an episode of Gossip Girl. The advertisement which she directed for the Christian Dior fragrance Miss Dior Chérie which was shot in France with model Maryna Linchuk was very well received and continues to be popular on YouTube.
In October 2014, Coppola launched a series of Christmas ads for the clothing chain Gap.
At the beginning of the 1990s, she was often featured in girl-oriented magazines like Seventeen and YM. In 1998, she cofounded the clothing line Milk Fed in Japan with friend Stephanie Hayman in cooperation with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon. In 2002, fashion designer Marc Jacobs chose the actress/director to be the 'face' of his house's fragrance. The campaign involved photographs of her shot by photographer Jürgen Teller in his signature over-exposed style. The July 2013 issue of Elle featured photographs shot by Coppola of Paris Hilton at her Beverly Hills mansion (which makes a cameo in The Bling Ring).
In May 2016, the New York Times reported that Coppola would be making her debut as an opera director. She is currently directing a production of La Traviata for the Teatro Nazionale in Rome, Italy.
Coppola was nominated for three Academy Awards for her 2003 film Lost in Translation, in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. She would go on to win for Best Original Screenplay, but lost the other two nominations to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Her nomination for Best Director made her the first American woman in history to be nominated in that category, and the third woman overall, after Lina Wertmüller and Jane Campion. In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the fourth woman to be nominated, and the first to win the award. Coppola, however, remains the youngest woman to be nominated in the Best Director category.
Her win for Best Original Screenplay resulted in her family becoming the second three-generation Oscar-winning family, her grandfather Carmine Coppola and her father Francis Ford Coppola having previously won Oscars. The first family to achieve this feat was the Huston family: Walter, John, and Anjelica.
For her work on Lost in Translation, Coppola also won the Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay Golden Globes, in addition to receiving three BAFTA Award nominations.
On September 11, 2010, Somewhere won the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice International Film Festival. Coppola is the first American woman to win the award.
On May 28, 2017, Coppola was awarded the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival for The Beguiled, making her the second ever woman (and the first American woman) to win the award.
In 1992, Coppola met director Spike Jonze; they married in 1999 and divorced in 2003. In an official statement, Coppola's publicist explained that the divorce decision was reached "with sadness". It is widely believed that a minor character in Lost in Translation is based on Jonze, as Coppola stated after the film's release, "There are elements of Spike there, elements of experiences."
Coppola married musician Thomas Mars on August 27, 2011 at Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda, Italy. They met while producing the soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides. They have two daughters: Romy (born November 28, 2006), whose name is a homage to Coppola's brother Roman, and Cosima (born May 2010).
Coppola and her family lived in Paris for several years before moving to New York City in 2010. "Shine" by Walt Mink (1993)
"This Here Giraffe" by The Flaming Lips (1996)
"Playground Love" by Air (2000)
"City Girl" by Kevin Shields (2003)
"I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" by The White Stripes (2003)
"Chloroform" by Phoenix (2013)
Miss Dior Chérie fragrance for Christian Dior starring Maryna Linchuk (2008)
City of Light fragrance for Christian Dior starring Natalie Portman (2012)
Marni collection for H&M starring Imogen Poots (2012)
La vie en rose for Christian Dior fragrance Miss Dior starring Natalie Portman (2013)
Daisy fragrance for Marc Jacobs starring Ondria Hardin (2013)
Dress Normal for Gap (2014)
Calvin Klein Underwear Women's Spring (2017)
"Mildred Pierce" by Sonic Youth (1990) – directed by Dave Markey
"Deeper and Deeper" by Madonna (1992) – directed by Bobby Woods
"Sometimes Salvation" by The Black Crowes (1992) – directed by Stéphane Sednaoui
"Elektrobank" by The Chemical Brothers (1997) – directed by Spike Jonze
"Funky Squaredance" by Phoenix (2002) – directed by Roman Coppola