With over 100 film and television credits to her name, French thespian Isabelle Huppert is one of the world’s most celebrated actresses. Known as the Meryl Streep of France, Huppert is the most nominated actress — with 15 total noms and one win — at the Césars, the French Oscars. She’s looking good for a 16th nomination there and her first at the Oscars for Paul Verhoeven’s psychological thriller “Elle.” If that happens, Huppert would become only the 14th Best Actress Oscar nominee for a foreign language performance.
As France’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film, “Elle” is about a successful businesswoman getting caught up in a game of cat and mouse as she tracks down the unknown man who raped her. The film started its awards journey earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival where it competed for the Palme d’Or. Since opening to raves at Cannes, “Elle” currently holds an 89 on Metacritic and an 89% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film and Huppert’s performance have been getting the same kind of passionate buzz that has translated into a nominations for many foreign thesps in recent years. This year’s Best Actress race is a bloodbath, but passion for Huppert’s performance could garner her first career Oscar nomination.
These are the 13 actresses that have been nominated for a foreign language performance in the Best Actress race at the Oscars:
Isabelle Adjani received two Oscar nominations for French films. Her first came for “The Story of Adele H.” (1975) which was directed by French New Wave pioneer François Truffaut. Adjani’s second nomination came for “Camille Claudel” (1989) which was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.
Anouk Aimée was nominated for “A Man and A Woman” (1966). The French film was nominated for four total Oscars, winning for Best Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film.
Marie-Christine Barrault was nominated for “Cousin Cousine” (1976). The French film was nominated for two additional Oscars: screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film.
Three-time Oscar winner Ingrid Bergman received her final nomination for the Swedish film “Autumn Sonata” (1978). The film also received a screenplay nomination. Her prior victories came for “Gaslight” (lead, 1944), “Anastasia” (lead, 1956) and “Murder on the Orient Express” (supporting, 1974)
Marion Cotillard became the second actress to win for a foreign language performance for the French Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en Rose” (2007). In addition to that win, the film won makeup and was nominated for costumes. Cotillard received her second Oscar nomination for “Two Days, One Night” (2014).
Penélope Cruz received her first of three nominations for constant collaborator Pedro Almodóvar’s Spanish drama “Volver” (2006). She would later win Best Supporting Actress for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008).
Catherine Deneuve received a Best Actress nomination for “Indochine” (1992), which also won France Best Foreign Language Film.
Ida Kaminska was nominated for the Czechoslovakian film “The Shop on Main Street” (1966). The film won Best Foreign Language Film a year prior.
Sophia Loren became the first actress to win for a foreign language performance in Vittorio De Sica’s Italian classic “Two Women” (1961). She received a second nomination for another De Sica collaboration “Marriage Italian Style” (1964) and won an Honorary Oscar in 1991. In a kismet twist of fate, she would present her fellow countryman Roberto Benigni the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for “Life Is Beautiful” (1998).
Fernanda Montenegro was nominated for the Brazilian film “Central Station” (1998). The film was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.
Catalina Sandino Moreno was nominated for her film debut performance in “Maria Full Of Grace” (2004).
At the age of 85, Emmanuelle Riva became the oldest Best Actress Oscar nominee for “Amour” (2012). In addition to its nomination for Riva, the film was nominated for Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay for Michael Haneke and won Austria the Best Foreign Language Film trophy.
Liv Ullmann received two nominations for Swedish films. The first was for “The Emigrants” (1972) and the second was for “Face to Face” (1976).
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Will Huppert join this illustrious company of actresses? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how each film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.