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by Nigel M Smith
May 20, 2014 10:48 AM
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Why Marion Cotillard Could Finally Win a Cannes Award

Marion Cotillard and the Dardennes Brothers in Cannes Cannes Film Festival

Following this morning's world premiere of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "Two Days, One Night" at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Marion Cotillard is now unquestionably a front-runner for an award from this year's jury led by Jane Campion. Cotillard made history as the first French actress to win the Best Actress Oscar (for "La Vie en Rose") for a French language performance, but she has yet to win that same honor at the festival, despite powerful performances in a number of films that have premiered in competition over the years, including "Rust and Bone," and last year's "The Immigrant," which opened in select U.S. theaters last Friday.

READ MORE: Marion Cotillard on Learning a Whole New Language to Play a Polish Prostitute in ‘The Immigrant’

In "Two Days, One Night," Cotillard appears in every scene as Sandra, a mother who learns that she'll be laid off from her job at an energy plant if she can't garner enough votes from her co-workers to keep her on. The chief obstacle: the staff have been promised a 1,000-euro bonus if they vote to fire her, and work more hours. In his glowing review for Indiewire, Eric Kohn wrote that "Cotillard's best work since 'La Vie En Rose' unquestionably ranks as her most credible turn, as the actress demonstrates a fragility that never veers into the realm of overstatement."

As one journalist at today's press conference following the screening commented, the role of a "poor, virtuous underdog" recalls that of the titular character she played in "The Immigrant." Asked to comment on what draws her to these types of characters, Cotillard said that she's drawn to women who "are truly fighting for survival who discover within themselves things they didn't realize they had." "That's what truly interests me in the human condition," she explained. "I'm deeply touched by survivors. I'm deeply moved by people who manage to cope despite their situations."

Marion Cotillard in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "Two Days, One Night"

For the Dardennes brothers, "Two Days, One Night" marks their second time, following 2011's "The Kid With a Bike" (which co-starred Cecile De France), they've worked with a major name talent like Cotillard. Having met Cotillard while co-producing "Rust and Bone," they met with her to discuss the project and decided immediately that she was right for it.

Jean-Pierre said that they didn't cast her to "break down the icon," but because they knew she could "become Sandra, and understand the inner nature of the character."

Cotillard revealed that prior to working with the brothers she had seen every one of their films, and had long wanted to collaborate. "I sensed [watching their films] that there would be a huge amount of work involved to achieve the perfection they do in their films," she said.

She was right. Prior to the shoot, Cotillard and her co-stars got together for three intensive weeks of rehearsal, and continued to rehearse on set once the cameras began to roll. "The idea of these rehearsals was to achieve something absolutely perfect," Cotillard said. "It's like a dance."

Cotillard said she had no plan of attack going into the project, instead just trying to understand how Sandra worked, a process she employs often in her work. "I try to go as deep as I can into the character to then be able to totally set aside the work aspect and become that person," she elaborated. "I give up my identity to become that person. Once I find all the keys, the character drives me, rather than the opposite."

Asked what type of challenge she'd be up for next, Cotillard said she's "fascinated" by the idea of playing a man. "It strikes me as totally impossible, so that excites me."


  • Lucas | May 25, 2014 3:17 AMReply

    But she got robbed again after her performance being the most acclaimed of the festival... it's unbelievable! Cannes really hates Marion!

  • COCO | May 21, 2014 5:53 AMReply

    Could win "Best actress" :
    - Annette Bening (or Bérénice Bejo) in "The Search"
    - Juliette Binoche in "Clouds of Sils Maria"
    - Julianne Moore in "Maps to the Stars"
    - Hilary Swank in "The Homesman"

  • Daniel Delago | May 21, 2014 3:21 AMReply

    She was amazing in 'Rust and Bone.' Such a gritty and honest performance. I wish her the best of luck at Cannes.

  • Pedro | May 20, 2014 8:10 PMReply

    Marion Cotillard is The Best actress of The world. I hope she'll finally win Best Actress in Cannes. But if The film win The Palm D'or, she gotta win a Palm D'or too, like Adele and Emma last year. An actress of her caliber is deserving of The maximum honors.

  • Stergios | May 20, 2014 9:38 PM

    Pedro, I just couldn't agree more with you, man. Hope both the film and herself leave Cannes with a Palme D'Or on hand. It's so evident that they more than deserve it.

  • Jhon | May 20, 2014 7:02 PMReply

    Be careful with Julianne Moore in maps to the stars she's a knockout there

  • Genadijus | May 20, 2014 6:21 PMReply

    Actually, at this moment I don't see any other choices what other actress can win the awar. Marion is the front-runner for "Two Days, One Night".

  • Jack | May 20, 2014 4:26 PMReply

    I really hope Marion wins this time because her performance is wonderful and she is the best actress working at today.

  • Alice | May 20, 2014 2:53 PMReply

    I really hope she wins, but this kind of article makes me think that she won't because Cannes hates to give awards to the obvious choice, they seems to hate famous and sucessful actors and always give awards to unknown or underrated actors, Marion was seen as the major contender for the awards in 2012 for 'r

  • Alice | May 20, 2014 3:00 PM

    Oh, sh*t, I clicked on "submit" before I finished my comment!
    So, Marion was seen as the major contender for the award in 2012 for 'Rust and Bone' but two unknown actresses (that nobody remember now) took the award instead, the same happened last year with 'The Immigrant' but Berenice Bejo won for a bland and forgettable performance while her supporting cast were far better than her... I wonder if the same will happen this year and Cotillard will be robbed again... But I still hope she wins!

  • David Glassman | May 20, 2014 11:34 AMReply

    She's the third French actress to win a Lead Actress Oscar: Claudette Colbert, Signoret and then Marion.

  • Stergios | May 20, 2014 11:45 AM

    Yes, but she's the only French actress ever to win a Lead Actress Oscar for a French language performance, let alone for the best female performance ever, the one she gave in "La vie en rose".

  • Stergios | May 20, 2014 11:29 AMReply

    She is undoubtedly the greatest actress of all time and should have won both for "Rust and bone" and "The Immigrant". It's unbelievable that she hasn't won her second Oscar yet. Totally unbelievable. I can't even image of her being snubbed again at the Oscars 2015 or leaving this year's Cannes Festival empty-handed. In the history of mankind, there has never been an actress of Cotillard's tremendous acting skills. She is the most fearless, the most versatile, the most astonishing actress ever to walk on this planet. She's the goddess of cinema.

  • b love | May 20, 2014 1:48 PM

    could not agree with you more stergios re: the Rust & Bone award, but that film was so under received it was shameful. this is why giving artists awards is such a challenging prospect