Watson was born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, to two lawyers, Jacqueline Duerre and Chris Watson, who divorced in 1995. She has a brother, Alex, who was born in 1993. Watson attended The Dragon School, a renowned preparatory school in Oxford (by 2005, she was attending the all-girls Headington School in the city).
Before being cast in the Harry Potter films, her dramatic performances had been limited to leading roles in school plays, including Arthur: The Young Years and The Happy Prince. Besides acting, Watson participated in many other school productions, including the Daisy Pratt Poetry Competition, in which she won first place for her year (age seven).
Hired at age ten, Watson was 11 years old in 2001 when she made her acting debut in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (released in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) playing Hermione Granger. She has also appeared in the Potter sequels: Chamber of Secrets (2002), Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), and Goblet of Fire (2005).
Potter fans have expressed mixed opinions about Watson's portrayal of Hermione Granger: Some feel she is perfect for the role; others believe Watson fails to capture Hermione's insecurities and flaws, and complain that she is "too pretty"  for the role—a sentiment shared by some film critics —since, in the book series, Hermione was generally described as being very "plain" (neither "pretty" nor "ugly"). The Potter screenplays, however, have made Hermione a more powerful and prominent character than originally written by Rowling.
By 5 February 2006, Watson is set to start principal photography for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (set for release in 2007), in which she once again reprises her role as "the brightest witch of [her] age."
Through Order of the Phoenix, shooting on the Harry Potter films had kept Watson too busy to take on other projects; however, she has expressed interest in expanding her film career beyond the Potter realm.
Emma shares her name with her grandmother, and with a fictional character in The Watsons, an unfinished novel by English author Jane Austen (later completed by English writer Joan Aiken in her 1996 novel Emma Watson: The Watsons Completed).
- Best Youth Performance: Phoenix Film Critics Society, 2002
- Best Ensemble in a Feature Film: Young Artists Awards, 2002
- Outstanding Supporting Actress: American Moviegoer Awards, 2002
- Saturn Award: for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- Empire Award: for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- Best Female Film Star (Silver): Otto Awards, 2003
- Leading Young Actress Feature Film: Young Artists Awards, March 2002
- Best Female Child Artist: Phoenix Film Critics Society, for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Best Ensemble in Feature Film: Young Artist Awards, for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- Best Performance in Feature Film: Young Artist Awards, for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
|2007||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Hermione Granger||pre-production|
|2005||Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Hermione Granger|
|2004||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||Hermione Granger|
|2002||Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets||Hermione Granger|
|2001||Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone||Hermione Granger||U.S. title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone|