Most people do not realise that French actresses have been making their mark on the movie world for decades. Quite a few have been nominated in the Best Actress category at the Academy Awards in Hollywood and several have walked away with the prize.
The first French actress to be nominated for an Oscar was Claudette Colbert, although she was considered to be a French-born American actress. A nomination and a win in 1934 were followed by further nominations in 1935 and 1944. However, many of the earlier nominations for French actresses had been for English language films.
The first French actress to be nominated for a French language movie was Anouk Aimée in 1966. Her role in ‘A Man and a Woman’ did not bring her a win but it helped to pave the way for other French-language roles to be nominated, although the next was not until 1975. It was in 1975 that Isabelle Adjani was nominated for ‘The Story of Adele H.’ In 1989 Adjani became the first French actress to be nominated for a second French Language role for her part in ‘Camille Claudel’.
In 1992 veteran French actress Catherine Deneuve was nominated for her role in ‘Indochine’ but the first win for a French actress in a French-speaking role was for Marion Cotillard in 2007. She was nominated for her role in ‘La Vie en Rose’ and added another nomination to her CV in 2014 for ‘Two Days, One Night’.
The French acting sorority set another record in 2012 when Emmanuelle Riva was nominated for ‘Amour’. She has the distinction of being the oldest nominee for Best Actress in the history of the awards as she was 85 at the time.
There have been other French speaking nominees in the Best Actress category but not all for French-speaking roles.