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Marion Cotillard: Most Successful Post-Oscar Career?

If you didn’t know this name two years ago, that is perfectly acceptable, but if at this point in time you have not heard of Marion Cotillard you may want to come out of your house more often.

The Parisian rapidly gained popularity in France, but many of her roles were unable to tap into her true potential.  She suffered from TV movies and the French film series, Taxi.  Then in 2003 she got a break and made her American debut with Tim Burton’s Big Fish.  As with any Cotillard performance, she was beautiful and mysterious yet many looked passed her to the more colorful characters in the film.  While her performance was overlooked, the film did build a more solid foundation for the actress and helped her gain roles in a number of French films in the following years.

Despite the many solid performances from Cotillard, no one could have anticipated what happened in 2007.  Olivier Dahan decided to direct a film about the life of the legendary French singer, Edith Piaf.  This is a juicy role but Dahan went out on a limb by casting the then up-and-coming, Cotillard.  Well, that casting decision is one of the greatest in modern cinema.  If you have not seen La vie en rose, the film in question, simply watch the clip below and you will understand why this role changed the life of Cotillard.

After a head turning performance like that, this girl was bound to get some attention.  2007 was one of the greatest years for cinema, yet despite extremely powerful competition in the form of Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Ellen Page, and Laura Linney, Cotillard wowed audiences everywhere with her rendition of Edith Piaf and in February of 2008 she took home the Oscar.

Not only did she pull off one of the greatest performances of all time, Marion Cotillard pulled off one of the greatest Oscar speeches, and in her second language!

The Oscar win completely changed her career.  More often than not, an actress winning an Oscar marks a steep decline in their work (in the past twenty years that is).  Halle Berry completely vanished after her win, Resse Witherspoon has done nothing noteworthy since Walk the Line, and now Natalie Portman’s post-Oscar movie choices have been a little spotty.  However, life post-Oscar for Cotillard was only the beginning!

After her Oscar win, Cotillard became one of the most sought after actresses in the business.  The first post-Oscar role was a small yet formidable one in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies.  Next came the only flub, so far, in Cotillard’s impressive filmography.  This flub came in the form on Rob Marshall’s Nine.  While far from terrible, the film was far below both Marshall and Cotillard’s standards.  The Parisian’s momentum did not slow one bit as it carried her from Nine‘s disappointment to one of the biggest megahits in the history of film, Inception.  

2010 marked Christopher Nolan’s first film after The Dark Knight, therefore there was a lot riding on his next project.  Nolan did not disappoint and gave audiences his most hotly contested film to date.  In it, Marion Cotillard plays a pivotal role as the deceased wife of Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) who continually thrawts his schemes.  The performance was haunting and stood out among the other performances from the noteworthy cast.

Fast forward May 2011 to the premiere of Midnight in Paris at Cannes.  The film marked Allen’s return to grade-A filmmaking and proved once again that Cotillard can stand out among any group of A-listers.  Allen’s ode to Paris starred Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Kathy Bates, yet it was Cotillard’s Adriana that really stole the show.  2011 got even better for this actress when she joined the stellar cast of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion.  While she never shared any screen time with them, Cotillard starred alongside Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow.  Talk about the cast of champions!  The film received mixed reviews from audiences but was a critical favorite and grossed $75 million domestically.

Now in 2012 we have Marion Cotillard’s most inciting roles to date.  As you should already know, Cotillard stars in The Dark Knight Rises (her second collaboration with Nolan) and has a key role to the plot.  Apparently, Nolan wanted Cotillard to have the role in the film so badly that he delayed production in the film in order for her to join in after her pregnancy.  I will not ruin the plot for anyone who has yet to see the film, however, there is more than meets the eye to Cotillard’s Miranda Tate.  A role in a Nolan film is hard to top, yet Cotillard is always one to defy the odds.  Her other 2012 role is in the latest film from the highly distinguished director, Jacques Audiard (A Prophet).  I discussed the film in my post Life After Batman, and there you can read her latest role which may have the potential to grab her a second Oscar nomination.

In a just a few years this beloved French actress has worked with Woody Allen, Michael Mann, Tim Burton, Steven Soderbergh, and twice with Christopher Nolan, as well as starred alongside Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, and many others.  Some actors would barely be able to rival that after a full-length career in the movies, yet Cotillard was able to do it before her 40th birthday.  After such prestigious additions to her filmography in such a short span of time, there is no telling where this actress will go next.  You’d be smart to keep an eye on her!

If you think I am incorrect in stating that Marion Cotillard has the most successful post-Oscar career of the past twenty years then let me know.  I will gladly hear who you think holds this title.  Happy moviegoing!

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