Marion Cotillard, one of contemporary cinema’s most international French actresses, will receive a Donostia Award at San Sebastian Festival’s 69th edition. She will collect the honorary award on Friday, September 17, during the Festival opening ceremony at the Kursaal Auditorium.
Cotillard, winner of the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for her role as Édith Piaf in La Môme / La Vie en Rose (Olivier Dahan, 2007), has shone brightly in European and North American productions, putting equal talent into dramatic, comedy and action roles alongside filmmakers including Michael Mann, Christopher Nolan, Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh, James Gray, the Dardenne brothers, Arnaud Desplechin, Nicole Garcia, Leos Carax and her partner, the director and actor Guillaume Canet.
Born in Paris into a family of artists, she made her acting debut while still a young child in one of the plays staged by her father, Jean-Claude Cotillard. After participating in TV series, she performed her first part for the cinema in L’histoire du garçon qui voulait qu’on l’embrasse (Philippe Harel, 1994). Her participation in Taxi (Gérard Pirès, 1998) garnered her the first of her six César Award nominations. She would later slip into the skin of Lilly Bertineau in Taxi 2 (2000) and Taxi 3 (2003) −both directed by Gérard Krawczyk– the sequels of the action box-office hit written and produced by Luc Besson.
Cotillard doubled up to play clashing twin sisters in Les jolies choses / Pretty Things (Gilles Paquet-Brenner, 2001), for which she landed yet another Best New Actress César nomination. Her fame in France grew thanks to the romantic comedy, Jeux d’enfants / Love Me if You Dare (Yann Samuell, 2003), after which she made her first Hollywood incursion with the North American Tim Burton, in the ensemble cast of Big Fish (2003). She finally won the César for Best Supporting Actress in the romantic drama set against the background of war Un long dimanche de fiançailles / A Very Long Engagement, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2004). That same year she featured in the cast of Innocence (Lucile Hadzihalilovic, 2004), winner of the New Directors Award in San Sebastian. After working in Mary (Abel Ferrara, Perlak, 2005), Sauf le respect que je vous dois / Burn Out (Fabienne Godet, New Directors, 2005) and Fair Play (Lionel Baillu, Kutxa New Directors Award, 2006), the actress embodied the restaurant owner and love interest of Russel Crowe’s character in A Good Year (2006), by Ridley Scott.
Her acclaimed recreation of the famous singer Édith Piaf represented a before and after in her career on becoming the first French actress to win the Oscar for a performance in the French language. Her role in La Môme / La Vie en Rose (Olivier Dahan, 2007) also earned Cotillard the Golden Globe, the BAFTA and her second César Award, this time as Leading Actress. She received the French Medal of the Order of Arts and Letters shortly afterwards.
From then on, Marion Cotillard ranked up her appearances in Hollywood productions including Public Enemies (Michael Mann, 2009), in which she played Billie Frechette, girlfriend of the gangster John Dillinger; the musical Nine (Rob Marshall, 2009), in which she once again displayed her skills as a singer and dancer; in the action movies Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), both directed by Christopher Nolan; the comedies Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011), the thrillers Contagion (Steven Soderbergh, 2011), Blood Ties (Guillaume Canet, 2013), Allied (Robert Zemeckis, 2016); or the dramas The Immigrant (James Gray, 2013), her first leading role in a North American movie, and Macbeth (Justin Kurzel, 2015).
Meanwhile, the actress has continued to work with important European filmmakers including Jacques Audiard (De rouille et d’os / Rust and Bone, 2012) and the Dardenne brothers (Deux jours, une nuite / Two Days, One Night, 2014), landing her fifth and sixth César nominations respectively. She has also worked under the orders of Xavier Dolan (Juste la fin du monde / It’s Only the End of the World, 2016), Arnaud Desplechin (Les fantômes d’Ismaël / Ismael’s Ghosts, 2017) and Leos Carax, with whom she recently starred in Annette (2021), an unclassifiable musical which opened this year's official competition at the Festival de Cannes.
She has worked alongside actors and actresses including Matthew Modine, Forest Whitaker, Christian Bale, Daniel Day-Lewis, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Clive Owen, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Louis Garrel, Léa Seydoux, Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vincent Cassel, Benoît Magimel, François Cluzet, Adam Driver and Johnny Depp, who will also receive the Donostia Award at San Sebastian Festival’s 69th edition.
A strong supporter of environmental protection, the actress is also the producer of Bigger Than Us, a documentary by Flore Vasseur (who’s also co-producing, along with Denis Carot from Elzévir Films) lending a voice to the youths committed to change. The film will show in San Sebastian as a Donostia Award Special Screening on September 18 at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre. It was previously programmed at the Festival de Cannes alongside other titles intended to raise awareness in the audience on climate change and its effect on the environment.
Tickets for the ceremony at which Cotillard will receive the award will go on sale on September 12. The Award will be presented during the Festival opening gala and will include the screening of Rosa Rosae. La Guerra Civil / Rosa Rosae. A Spanish Civil War Elegy, a short film by Carlos Saura, together with Zhang Yimou's Yi miao zhong / One Second feature film.