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FYC: Best Actress - Marion Cotillard 

Jose here. It's that time of year when I start begging everyone to give Marion Cotillard awards, this time around I think she's Best Actress material in The Immigrant which recently played at the New York Film Festival.

In the film, Cotillard plays Ewa Cybulski, a young woman who arrives in 1921 New York City, escaping the violence in her native Poland. Her American dream is instantly shattered when her sister (Angela Sarafyan) is left at the Ellis Island infirmary and Ewa begins a destructive relationship with entertainer/pimp Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix) who forces her into prostitution in order to rescue her sister and avoid deportation.

If you're thinking this sounds like a soap opera, it's precisely because director James Gray was aiming for an old fashioned melodrama, as established at a press conference during the festival.

Cotillard delivers yet another flawless performance as she is able to convey a sense of innocence we rarely see in movies nowadays. Watching her light up the screen made me think that if The Immigrant had been done in the 1940's, Ewa would've probably been played by Ingrid Bergman. The actress flows seamlessly between broken English and seemingly fluent Polish, which lead to the director addresing why he cast her and not a Polish actress in the part,

I'm a little out of touch with movies and I did not know who Marion Cotillard was. I had become friendly with her boyfriend and we went out to dinner in Paris and I met her. I started arguing about an actor who she loved and I though was overrated, so she threw a piece of bread at my head and she mentioned she thought I was a jerk. I immediately liked her as a result.

Cotillard looks radiant in the film and besides recalling Bergman, Giulietta Masina (mostly because of the film's structure) and Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette.

Gray confessed she reminded him of someone else:

[Marion] has a great face, not only physically beautiful, which she is, but she's like a silent film actress, she reminded me of Falconetti, very able to convey depth of emotion without dialogue, so I wrote the movie for her and if she [and Joaquin] hadn't been in it, I probably wouldn't have made it. 

The Immigrant's release plans are still cloudy but whenever it does open, Marion better be in the Oscar discussion.

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Reader Comments (21)

Cotillard brought a clip of this to Telluride last year during her tribute; I was completely floored. It was a scene of her, I believe if I'm remembering correctly, in a church confessional? I fell in love immediately, I can't wait for this one, whenever we see it.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean D

It appears as if a 2014 release is on the cards, although who knows when it comes to Harvey if he thinks his designated ponies aren't up the scratch he could move anything anywhere. The confessional scene was indeed excellent. She as well as the cinematography were above and beyond the best things about that rather problematic movie.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

she's really good in it. I think she's grown so much as an actor since La Vie En Rose. I realize the popular position is that she was perfect in that but i often felt she was pushing too hard. Lately she's just exceptional and really doesn't seem to be sweating it. Rust & Bone - ugh, so good.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

@Sean D - They showed that confessional scene as a preview clip?!? I would think they would save that lovely morsel for when you actually see the movie. Jeez.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Nine stinks, but I caught it on Tv again these days and realized how much she kills in it. A perfect performance that I didn't praise enough that year because I was so crazy about her in Public Enemies. I can't see any other actress giving so much for such a terrible movie. It only registers when she's onscreen, but then it's overwhelming.

I love that she got to work with James Gray, who's such a wonderful director with actresses. Paltrow, Theron and Eva Mendes landed some of their best work directed by him.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Seeing The Immigrant this weekend! I wonder what they're going to do with the release on this one. I know it's being pushed back until 2014, but are they going to dump it in February or make everyone wait all year long for a glimpse of the thing?

@NathanielR--Totally cool to see you come around on her. I think she's brilliant.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

I was surprised Gray was able to pull away from her sometimes and film anyone/anything else. That face, she gives so much in this movie. And Gray and Khonji light and film her lovingly.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

I've been wanting to see this since I heard the glowing, gushing reviews from Guy Lodge, Stephanie Zacharek, and Keith Uhlich. I really hope Harvey gives it a somewhat respectable release. It sounds like the type of movie to soak in on the big screen.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I'm a bit stunned at her lack of a second nomination, and I haven't even seen the film she won the Oscar for! I realize she hasn't been a "name" very long, but she's such a consistently (and increasingly) impressive actress that it makes me question what the hell else she needs to do for the Academy to welcome her back?! I couldn't even get mad at whatever it was she was doing in The Dark Knight Rises because I've pretty much loved her in everything else.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

The film pales in comparison to James Gray's other works like Two Lovers, but Cotillard is nothing short of spectacular in the film. Hopefully she gets dome sort of recognition next year, because it is quite a magnificent performance.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKai Lor

Why did Cotillard not get a nomination for Rust & Bone? She was amazing
in that role ......

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I'm so glad her phase of boring roles is over. She totally deserved a nomination last year, at least over Chastain, Wallis and Watts.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I really wish she had gotten nominated over Watts last year (I've changed my mind on this). I still really, really wish she would've been nominated for Nine. She had a shot in either category had the studio made a distinct choice, because both categories had weak fifth spots. Helen Mirren and Maggie Gyllenhaal could've been pushed out. She was amazing in Nine, the reason to rewatch in my opinion.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I thought she should have been nominated for Inception. Thought she was so spellbinding in that too.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Somehow I don't care so much that she's been snubbed so many times because she won in 2007. And in my mind she has four nominations and two wins anyways. She's going to be a legend.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Deadline announced today that Harvey is close to finalising a deal for MACBETH, directed by Justin Kurzel (SNOWTOWN) and starring Cotillard as Lady Macbeth and Fassy as her husband. That starts filming in England in January, so may well be ready for release end of 2014.

I suspect THE IMMIGRANT will get a quiet Spring release and Harvey will focus on MACBETH for awards attention, assuming the film is released on time and worth pushing...

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

I really need to check in on Rust & Bone again. Even as somebody who has sat through **every** Haneke movie without stopping, I had to stop this one pretty early because of how dire and depressing it all was.

Weisz was already my swapped, 'I'll pretend this actually did happen' pick. Also in my perfect world Jennifer Lawrence goes into the supporting.

October 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I think it'd be a wise for them to move this to 2014. She won't have Streep, Bullock, Blanchett, Bejo, Adams etc to compete with.

But doesn't it's NYFC screening mean it would be ineligble for the 2014 oscars? Don't they have some rule that films previously screened are ineligible? Maybe they permit Festival screenings. Still think she was cheated out of an oscar nom for her brilliant performance in Rust and Bone.

October 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

@Bette Streep Festival screenings don't count towards Oscar eligibility. Also, it needs to be screened in Los Angeles to be eligible.

October 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

@Bette Streep--awesome name. But semi sidenote, are people still talking about Bejo? I feel like that one has totally gone by the wayside.

October 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

isn't this supposed to be released next year via Radius/TWC? which means an almost straight-to-dvd release

October 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

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