Marion Cotillard on ‘Rust and Bone’: Tragedy can bring rebirth [video]

Five years after Marion Cotillard pulled off a Best Actress upset over Julie Christie (“Away from Her”), she’s back in the running for another chunk of academy gold. And she might get it for “Rust and Bone.” Currently, she’s in second place with 11-to-2 odds, according to the Oscarologists polled by Gold Derby. See how the experts rank contenders in that category.

Don’t dismiss Cotillard’s odds just because she recently won. Five years separated Hilary Swank‘s victories for “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004). Ditto Sean Penn’s twin triumphs for “Mystic River” (2003) and “Milk” (2008).

Cotillard has a curious edge in this current race: she portrays a handicapped role – that’s always a plus with academy members who want to bestow a hug so they can feel less guilty about their pampered lives. She portrays a French whale trainer who is suddenly crippled after an accident at the aquarium.

The tragedy comes as a wake-up call to someone who was living a hollow existence earlier.

“Apparently, she has a wonderful life, but inside she’s kind of a disaster,” Cotillard tells Gold Derby. “She doesn’t really enjoy being alive. But after the accident, everything is different and she has nothing but herself to face. She goes from this empty shell with a job, with a boyfriend, with an apartment, everything you need to live, but she doesn’t have the essence of love for herself or for anyone else. And the energy of life. She’ll find it because of a dramatic accident.”

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