She is the recipient of four British Academy Television Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, two International Emmy Awards, a BAFTA Fellowship, and a Golden Globe. Walters has twice been nominated for an Academy Award: once for Best Actress and once for Best Supporting Actress. She was made a Dame (DBE) in 2017 for services to drama.
Julie Walters rose to prominence playing the title role in Educating Rita (1983), a part she originated on the West End. She has appeared in many other films, including Personal Services (1987), Prick Up Your Ears (1987), Stepping Out (1991), Sister My Sister (1994), Girls' Night (1998), Titanic Town (1998), Billy Elliot (2000), the Harry Potter series (2001–2011), Calendar Girls (2003), Wah-Wah (2005), Driving Lessons (2006), Becoming Jane (2007), Mamma Mia! (2008) and its 2018 sequel, Brave (2012), The Harry Hill Movie (2013), Paddington (2014) and its 2017 sequel, Brooklyn (2015), Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017), and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). On stage, she won a Olivier Award for Best Actress for the 2001 revival of All My Sons.
On television, Julie Walters collaborated regularly with Victoria Wood; their projects included Wood and Walters (1981), Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV (1985–1987), Pat and Margaret (1994), and dinnerladies (1998–2000). She has won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress four times, more than any other performer, for her roles in My Beautiful Son (2001), Murder (2002), The Canterbury Tales (2003), and Mo (2010). Julie Walters and Helen Mirren are the only actresses to have won this award three consecutive times, and Walters is tied with Judi Dench for most nominations in the category with seven. For her role in A Short Stay in Switzerland (2009), she received the International Emmy Award for Best Actress. In 2006, the British public voted Walters fourth in ITV's poll of TV's 50 Greatest Stars.