(written from a Production point of view)
Winona Laura Horowitz (born 29 October 1971; age 50), better known as Winona Ryder, is the Academy Award-nominated actress who played Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson, in the 2009 film Star Trek. The role was originated by the late Jane Wyatt in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Journey to Babel".
Ryder is known for starring in numerous acclaimed and popular films. Some of her biggest box office hits have included Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Little Women, Alien Resurrection, and Mr. Deeds. Throughout her career, she has received two Academy Award nominations, a Golden Globe, an additional Golden Globe nomination, two National Board of Review Awards, a BAFTA Award nomination, an Independent Spirit Award nomination, and three Saturn Award nominations, among many other accolades.
Hailing from Olmsted County, Minnesota, Ryder made her film debut in the 1986 comedy Lucas. She then acquired recognition for her role as Lydia in director Tim Burton's Beetlejuice in 1988. She later reunited with Burton for 1990's Edward Scissorhands, which also featured Todd Bryant, Aaron Lustig, and Biff Yeager. Her performance in Edward Scissorhands earned Ryder her first Saturn Award nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
In addition, Ryder co-starred with Mariette Hartley and Joanna Cassidy in 1969, a 1988 dramatic film. Ryder's breakthrough came when she starred opposite Christian Slater in the cult 1989 black comedy Heathers. Her performance in this film earned Ryder a nomination as Best Female Lead from the Independent Spirit Awards.
Ryder played Myra Gale Brown, the 13-year-old cousin and third wife of musician Jerry Lee Lewis, in the biographical drama Great Balls of Fire!, winning a Young Artist Award for her performance. In 1990, she starred in the comedy film Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael. This movie also featured Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest actress Heidi Swedberg. Ryder then starred in the film Mermaids, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. She also won a National Board of Review for her performance in this film.
Ryder has been nominated for two Academy Awards. She received her first nomination for her performance as May Welland in Martin Scorsese's 1993 adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence (which also featured Norman Lloyd). Ryder also won a Golden Globe and a National Board of Review Award for her work in this film, and was nominated for a BAFTA Award.
She was again nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Jo March in 1994's Little Women. Ryder's co-stars in this film included Star Trek: The Next Generation guest performers Kirsten Dunst and John Neville. Prior to filming Ryder became the celebrity advocate for kidnapped Polly Klass who lived in Ryder's hometown of Petaluma, California. Ryder served as the unofficial spokesman for the Klass family holding up the sketch of the suspect later identified as Richard Allen Davis. Tragically the case ended in the discovery of Klass' body followed by the subsequent murder trial in which Davis was convicted and sentenced to California's death row. Ryder attended the trial and dedicated the film in Klass' honor.
Other notable works
Ryder has worked with fellow Star Trek movie actress Alfre Woodard in two films: 1995's How to Make an American Quilt (which co-starred Jean Simmons and Gail Strickland) and 2000's Lost Souls (with Brad Greenquist). She has also appeared in two films with Star Trek: The Next Generation guest star Famke Janssen: Woody Allen's Celebrity (with Bebe Neuwirth and Sonita Henry) in 1998 and David Wain's The Ten in 2007.
In 1996, Ryder portrayed Abigail Williams opposite Bruce Davison's Reverend Parris in the film adaptation of Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible. That same year, Ryder worked alongside such actors as Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, and Trek alumni Kevin Conway, Richard Cox, F. Murray Abraham, and Harris Yulin in Pacino's documentary Looking for Richard, in which Ryder portrayed Lady Anne in a production of William Shakespeare's Richard III.
She received her third Saturn Award nomination for her role in 1997's Alien Resurrection. She also won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award as Favorite Supporting Actress - Sci-Fi for this film. Her co-stars in Alien Resurrection included fellow Star Trek alumni Raymond Cruz, Brad Dourif, Leland Orser, and Ron Perlman.
Ryder's other film credits include Ben Stiller's Reality Bites (co-starring Bill Bolender and Andy Dick), Boys (with Matt Malloy), and Girl, Interrupted (co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Kurtwood Smith). Her biggest box office success to date as a leading actress is the 2002 comedy Mr. Deeds, which co-starred Erick Avari, Scott Thompson Baker, Bruce French, and Harve Presnell.
Ryder's rare television work includes voicing in the "Lisa's Rival" episode of the long-running animated series The Simpsons and a guest-starring role on the popular sitcom Friends (in the episode "The One with Rachel's Big Kiss"). She also hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live on 18 May 2002.
Arrest and recent film career
On 12 December 2001, Ryder was arrested on shoplifting and illegal drug possession charges in Beverly Hills, California, in what became a worldwide media frenzy.  The following year, she was convicted of grand theft and vandalism and sentenced to three years' probation and 480 hours of community service, in addition to being ordered to pay over US$10,000 in fines and restitution and to attend psychological and drug counseling.   In June of 2004, her case was reviewed and her felony charges were dropped to misdemeanors. 
After the shoplifting incident, Ryder took a brief hiatus from the spotlight and her film career slowed down considerably. She returned in 2003 with an uncredited cameo in Asia Argento's drama The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, which also featured Jimmy Bennett. She later played the female leads in Finn Taylor's 2006 comedy The Darwin Awards, in Richard Linklater's well-received 2006 rotoscoped science fiction thriller A Scanner Darkly, and in the 2008 romantic drama The Last Word. The latter also featured former Star Trek: Enterprise regular John Billingsley.
Ryder's other recent film credits include the aforementioned The Ten, the 2008 dark comedy Sex and Death 101, the 2009 crime drama The Informers, and the 2009 drama The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. She also starred in the 2007 short film Welcome, which was directed by her Little Women co-star and fellow Star Trek alum, Kirsten Dunst. Ryder will next be seen in the title role of the CBS made-for-TV movie When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story, which co-stars Paul Popowich. Ryder also starred in the ballet drama Black Swan with TNG guest performer Mark Margolis.
Ryder's upcoming feature films include Stay Cool (which also features Joanna Cassidy) and in April 2010, she was cast in the comedy Dilemma, the latest film from acclaimed director Ron Howard co-starring his brother Clint Howard. 
Ryder's current project has reunited her with featured director Tim Burton. This time Ryder is lending her voice to the animated Frankenweenie (2012) with Frank Welker.
As of 2016, Ryder has starred in the Netflix series Stranger Things.