Each fall, Hollywood studio executives trot out their most dramatic films in the hope that they are fresh on the minds of voters once awards season starts. That awards season gets an early start each October when the Hollywood Film Awards are held in Los Angeles.
The Hollywood Film Awards may not be as well-known as the Academy Awards or even the Golden Globes, but they have a huge impact on the industry. Based on who wins each of the awards, film workers can guess who might get one of those coveted Oscars in February. In fact, in just nine years, the Hollywood Film Awards have given statues to 85 different Academy Award nominees, 32 of whom went on to win.
For 2012, French actress Mario Cotillard was announced as the recipient of the Hollywood Actress Award. The award goes to an actress who gives a distinguished performance in a film released the same year, as decided by an advisory committee. This committee has access to special sneak previews or advance copies of films, so they get to see everything before it is released to the public. Based on their critique of each film, awardees are chosen.
Unlike most awards, the Hollywood Film Awards does not give out a list of nominees, opting instead to choose one person to honor in each category. The honorees such as Cotillard are announced well in advance, giving them lots of time to prepare a speech and make plans to attend the gala event.
Cotillard is being honored in 2012 because of her performance in “Rust and Bone,” a French language film directed by Jacques Audiard, who also cowrote the screenplay and coproduced the film. In it, she portrays Stephanie, a killer whale trainer who is in a terrible relationship. She meets Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts), a father who had been absent from his son’s life until very recently. Finding life hard to deal with, they both end up at the same bar and meet when he protects her in a bar fight.
The next day, she loses both her legs in a tragic accident involving the very whales she trains. After she is released from the hospital and wallowing in self-pity, she runs into Ali again, and a friendship begins. As these two very damaged souls begin to confide and take comfort in each other, a relationship that neither one expected begins to emerge.
It isn’t easy for someone with both legs like Cotillard to portray a double amputee, but she does it with grace. Her performance is layered and nuanced, which caught the eye of many people at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where the movie first debuted. After the great critical praise in Cannes, the film was picked up for a U.S. release in the fall in the hopes it would garner several awards nominations. Cotillard being honored for her performance is a good indicator that the film will be in contention once other awards shows begin whittling down their lists of nominees.
Cotillard is no stranger to winning awards, having been given an Oscar in 2008 for Best Actress for the film “La Vie En Rose.” It was only the second time a French actress had won the coveted award, and the first for performing in French. The movie was filmed in French and given English subtitles upon its release in the United States. Since then, Cotillard has built quite a resume and is a household name among many movie buffs. She was nominated for another major award, this time a Golden Globe, for her performance in Gary Marshall’s musical “Nine” in 2009.
Cotillard will receive the award formally at the awards show, which will be held on October 22, 2012. With her will be fellow honorees Judd Apatow, who will get the Hollywood Comedy Award; John Hawkes, who will receive the Hollywood Breakout Performance Award and Quvenzhane Wallis, who will get the New Hollywood Award for her performance in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
As for the film that Marion Cotillard is being honored for, “Rust and Bone” is slated for a November 23, 2012 release in New York City. It will be given a December 7 release in Los Angeles, with a wider release to follow after that. With such a late release and this Hollywood Film Award for Cotillard, chances are very good that Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Academy Awards voters will remember this film when it comes time to fill out their ballots.
For the past 6 years, Zack Mandell has been a contributing writer for Gossip Center’s general entertainment news department. In addition, he currently owns and manages the movie website, movieroomreviews.com.