She has appeared in a number of films, including Burn After Reading, The Beach and The Chronicles of Narnia, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performances in The Deep End and We Need to Talk About Kevin. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Michael Clayton in 2007.
She was listed under "Friends to LGBT people" in the Independent on Sunday's Pink List 2013. The citation said:
- "Swinton flew a rainbow flag in Red Square this year to support Russia’s beleaguered LGBT community and risked prosecution. 'In solidarity. From Russia with love,' her spokesperson explained."