Actress, singer. Born September 30, 1975 in Paris, France. Raised in a household of actors, teachers, artists and entertainers, Marion Cotillard decided to become an actress at an early age. At 16, she moved to Paris to pursue her dream and by 2001, she had won France’s prestigious Cesar Award for her performance as twins Lucie and Marie in Les Jolie Choses.
Cotillard made her Hollywood debut in Tim Burton’s 2003 fantasy Big Fish. She then captured her second Cesar Award for her turn in 2004’s A Very Long Engagement with Audrey Tautou. Her second American film, A Good Year opposite Russell Crowe, also received strong reviews.
But it was Cotillard’s starring performance as fallen French singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose that made international audiences take notice. Her uncanny transformation into Piaf earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
At the Academy Award ceremony, Cotillard was overcome by emotion when her name was called for the Best Actress Award, which was seen as an unexpected win as Julie Christie had been favored by many critics as the one most likely to take home the Oscar. On stage, Cotillard too seemed completely surprised and struggled to find the words for her acceptance speech. Backstage, she told reporters that “I’m totally overwhelmed with joy and sparkles and fireworks and everything that goes like ‘boom boom boom.'” With this award, Cotillard became the first French performer to win an Academy Award since 1960.
Though Cotillard had starred in more than 40 French films since the mid-1990s, the extraordinary role of Piaf made her an “overnight success” in America. And many expect that success will continue, especially now that she has become an Academy Award-winning actress.