Emma Stone | Hall of Fame

The double Oscar winner has conquered the world, mixing popular mainstream hits with cool indie cred. Now she’s back in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Kinds Of Kindness.

Helen O'Hara

27 Jun 24

If you ever suffer from imposter syndrome, look away now.

At 35, Emma Stone is a two-time Oscar winner (from four nominations) and has spent time as one of Hollywood's most bankable actresses. She's funny, smart and impossibly talented, and her filmography shows that she's a woman who enjoys taking risks and pushing boundaries as well as lighting up mainstream comedies. The fact that the world as a whole loves her is testament to the infuriating fact that she does all this while being, to all indications, delightful.

To be fair to her – and who wouldn't want to be fair to her; she's delightful! – Stone comes by her profound likeability honestly.

She suffered crippling anxiety as a child and acting offered her a way to cope by stepping out of her own head into someone else's. She persuaded her parents to let her move, with her mother, to LA as a teenager, and auditioned for Disney Channel roles and every teenage daughter part going, enduring rounds and rounds of rejections.

Her first film role came in 2007 in Superbad as the object of Jonah Hill's affection. Stone dyed her blonde hair red for it, which would prove a lasting success, and made the most of a thinly written part by injecting humour into what could have been just another hot girl. It made her one to watch virtually overnight.

She followed that by joining the hip, hilarious ensemble of Zombieland, before Easy A gave her a leading lady role. She plays Olive, a virginal student who, stuck with an unwarranted bad reputation, decides to lean in and fake sex with a bunch of would-be studs in her school so they can pretend to be experienced. It's a weird, wonderful teen comedy with much to say about reputation and gossip, and Stone carries it.

She built on her reputation for wit opposite Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love, before swerving into sincerity in The Help, playing an idealistic civil rights ally who must reckon with her own privileged past.

    "She's a woman who enjoys taking risks and pushing boundaries."

Two Amazing Spider-Man films followed, until the filmmakers killed off her Gwen Stacy and realised they'd thus killed the entire franchise because audiences couldn't forgive them. Stone, however, rolled straight into her first Oscar nomination, for Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman, and conquered Broadway in Cabaret. She then lit up Damien Chazelle's musical fantasy La La Land, taking home an Oscar for her role as wannabe movie star Mia, opposite Gosling once again.

There were other hits – Battle Of The Sexes, Zombieland: Double Tap – but soon afterwards Stone formed what looks to be the key creative partnership of her career. She teamed with director Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite, the skewed, comic period drama about a young schemer, Abigail, conniving to become the favourite of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) over her cousin Sarah (Rachel Weisz). All three were Oscar nominated, and if Colman took home the prize that night it was Stone who reteamed with the director for last year's Poor Things. Her extraordinary, Oscar-winning performance had her play a woman ageing from toddlerhood to full maturity after being resurrected by an only slightly mad scientist. She and Lanthimos have teamed a third time, for Kinds Of Kindness, out this summer.

Having conquered TV with last year's The Curse and with a role in Ari Aster's upcoming western, Eddington, it looks like there's nothing she can't do. And you can't even hate her for it. It's Emma Stone's world, and we're all just living in it.  Helen O'Hara

Three to Watch

Easy A


What should you do with a bad reputation? Monetise it, judging by this teen comedy hit. Stone's Olive is sharp-witted yet goofy, walking the line between delivering a broad teen comedy and giving the distinct suggestion that there's a real character underneath. A deservedly star-making turn.

La La Land


Stone injects warmth and bubbliness into what could have been just another wannabe starlet role in this gentle love story from director Damien Chazelle. As Mia she's optimistic and open to the possibilities offered by acting and falling in love, and she has to grow up a huge amount during the course of the film.

Poor Things


An astonishing tour de force, this sees Stone play a lifetime in a couple of years, learning about sex, life, injustice and independence (more or less in that order) as she travels the world and resists the attempts of men to control her. An astonishing achievement.

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Kinds of Kindness is in cinemas from 28 June Book Now!

Special Screenings
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