Best Actress Golden Globe winner and presumed Oscar Best Actress nominee Isabelle Huppert was honored in Paris this evening by Unifrance, the organization that promotes French cinema worldwide. At the Ministry of Culture, Huppert accepted the French Film Award in recognition of all of her work, and particularly Elle which has scored her a raft of prizes since debuting in Cannes last year.
A tireless traveler who nevertheless suffers from a fear of flying, Huppert’s voyages in support of Unifrance and spreading French cinema were hailed by the organization’s president Jean-Paul Salomé.
Elle is a particularly interesting case for France given it has now brought Huppert a Golden Globe and took the Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. It was the official submission from France for the Foreign Language Academy Award, but in a surprise snub, failed to make the Oscar shortlist.
Huppert, who did not wish to get into a conversation about omissions, told me earlier today that the film’s Globe win came with an overall sense of satisfaction. “It couldn’t be otherwise,” she said. “Just in itself. Let’s not go back to what happened, but just say some films are easier than others.”
She added, “I think it’s quite remarkable that this film with (director Paul) Verhoeven, who is a major filmmaker — to have the recognition especially in America, it’s great.”
This evening at the Culture Ministry, she said, “Everything that has happened recently I share from the bottom of my heart with France. And the fact that this has been for a French-language role has been particularly surprising. I have learned through all of this that it is the cinema that we recompense with its audacity and sense of transgression.
“I hope whatever happens in the next months that this cultural spirit will lift us higher because it is strong, and essential and political.”
“Sometimes the idea of culture is put to the wayside. In France, we have a tendency to think that the values of culture are very high and we have to keep them very, very, very high because if in a country like the United States, and others, we feel that we say things through our films which aren’t said in this manner — with audacity and freedom and independence as is often the case with the films of Paul Verhoeven — it’s because we have the possibility to do so. Often, that is not the case (elsewhere).”