There seems to be a good standing for foreign performers at the CFCAs.
The CFCAs, unlike the BSFCs, often hand out out several awards to foreign performers and films. Rinko Kikuchi (Babel), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace), and Audrey Tautou (Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain) are all recent acting and breakthrough honorees. And one of Cotillard’s films, A Very Long Engagement, was awarded the Best Foreign Film title back in 2004. (Cotillard won a César - the French equivalent to the Oscars - for her performance in A Very Long Engagement.)
The Chicago critics, in their reviews, seemed to be completely divided on La Vie en Rose – some thought it was mess while others loved it. There were very few grey areas. One common thread, though, was that the majority of the Chicago critics I found (even the ones who hated the film) thought Cotillard was dazzling. Most of the reviews were very enthusiastic about Cotillard’s work, so what it comes down to in the end is whether or not there are enough of these critics to out-vote the films’ detractors.
Having said that, La Vie en Rose has been picked as one of the CFCA’s nominees for Best Foreign Film. While I doubt it will win, it removes most of the doubt I had about a win for Cotillard. Critics are far more likely to hold the flaws of a film against the performer than actors are (actors vote for Oscar and SAG winners/nominees), and La Vie en Rose certainly has its flaws. However, the fact that the picture is up for Foreign Language Film means that the CFCA thinks it’s one of the best – flaws and all – and this could help elevate Cotillard to victory.
As she has for all of the past critics’ awards, Cotillard will be battling mainly against Julie Christie (Away from Her), another Best Actress nominee. Ellen Page (Juno), who was revealed to be Christie’s biggest competition at the NYFCC, could also sneak up and win, as the CFCA likes young talent. Other nominees include Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart) and Laura Linney (The Savages).
The winners will be announced on December 14, 2007.
Roger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times, “One of the best biopics I’ve seen”:
“Olivier Dahan's "La Vie en Rose," one of the best biopics I've seen, tells Piaf's life story through the extraordinary performance of Marion Cotillard...”
David Kaplan, Kaplan Vs. Kaplan, “An exceptional film”:
“..a hugely entertaining biography of the great French chanteuse, Edith Piaf, featuring a staggering performance by 31-year-old actress Marion Cotillard as the petite fireball that was Piaf…The first-rate cast never misses a beat, the characterizations being completely authentic. But it is Cotillard who clearly carries this film. If you see the movie, and it really is a must for serious moviegoers, you should check out photos of the real Edith Piaf to see how closely Cotillard resembles her facially. It’s an almost uncanny likeness, and while Cotillard does sing in the film, most of the time she is lip-synching, although it’s beautifully done and impossible to detect. This is one of those incredible performances that simply cannot be ignored at Oscar time. The range of emotions from Cotillard, in so many difficult sequences in the film, is magnificent, and it will require a mighty coup by some other actress to top her interpretation in “La Vie En Rose”.”
Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan Vs. Kaplan, “Truly a remarkable film”:
“…brilliantly acted by Cotillard. Much like the recent biopics of Truman Capote and Idi Amin, she totally embodies the character of Edith Piaf, beginning with her days as a 20-year-old waif, singing on street corners, to the end of her life - arthritic, bent and misshapen. It’s a stunning performance - one that keeps the audience enraptured throughout…it is Cotillard that makes this movie an unforgettable experience.”
Steve “Capone” Prokopy, Ain’t It Cool, “One of the best biopics EVER”:
“A dizzying, time-jumping, fierce experience, LA VIE EN ROSE traces the cradle-to-grave life of singer and consummate Parisian Edith Piaf, played with a ferocity and shocking bravery by Marion Cotillard…Cotillard's performance is staggering. The timing of this film's release almost guarantees that Cotillard (last seen as Russell Crowe's stubborn love interest in the otherwise unremarkable A GOOD YEAR) won't be considered come awards season, and that's criminal. To believably play this character from her teenage years to the last days of her life by doing little more than adjusting her posture and changing her wig and makeup is astonishing. It's almost exhausting, in the best possible sense…There are several very good performances here, but Cotillard essentially makes them all forgettable by being so powerful.”
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, “Wildly uneven”:
“Yet in the middle of it you have Marion Cotillard, scrunching her strapping 5-foot-6-inch frame into Piaf's rickety 4-foot-8-inch universe, working like the devil to inhabit and interpret Piaf. She's pretty dazzling…The way Cotillard jams her hands on her hips and wallops an audience in the performance sequences, lip-synching very skillfully, you sense Piaf's intertwined fear and desire of the public.”