The flawless French actress Marion Cotillard turned heads as she arrived to the IFP’s Gotham Independent Film Awards ceremony in New York City last night. She stunned in a Dior dress and Chopard jewelry. The talented beauty was there to receive the female “Tribute” award, which she seemed beyond grateful for. Her acceptance speech enlightened audience members, as she credited independent filmmakers as “great storytellers” and as individuals who “have the courage to hold a mirror up to life and create a story based on what they see.” Later, Marion was overjoyed discussing family life and her baby. “He’s 18 months old now!” The starlet seemed in high-spirits and as a bystander put it “had the best energy out of all the talent there.” The actress stayed until the very end, and even took photos with star-struck fans outside afterwards.
Cotillard stars in the French language Belgian directed film “Rust and Bone,” which is now playing in limited release and is already getting Academy buzz. Film Synopsis: Ali finds himself with a five year-old child on his hands. Sam is his son, but he hardly knows him. Homeless, penniless and friendless, Ali takes refuge with his sister in Antibes where things improve immediately. She puts them up in her garage and takes the child under her wings. During a night club brawl Ali runs into Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) who trains killer whales. He drives her home and leaves her his phone number. He is poor, she is beautiful and self-assured. When one of her training sessions ends in tragedy, a call in the night brings them together again. When Ali sees her next, she is confined to a wheel chair because she has lost her legs and with them quite a few illusions. Ali helps her without pitying her and Stephanie gains new strength to continue living her life in a positive way.
After Cotillard accepted her award she participated in a press conference in the Winner’s Room. Check out what she told reporters about the momentous evening:
Q: What does this award mean to you?
Marion Cotillard: When you want to be an actor and you want to share stores and you do a film in your country and you’re able to share it outside of your country, and I know I am being awarded for my work in general. But I’m thinking of all the people I’ve worked with who gave me the opportunity to go deep inside of the character so that belongs to them
Q: How important is it for you to be working on independent film?
Marion Cotillard: I never choose a movie because of whether it’s independent or a big movie, it’s just a story that kind of takes me…But independent movies, they have the freedom of no rules, you know. They have the freedom of telling stories that nobody except a special director will tell. And also, in countries where cinema is independent, because there is no industry, it’s very important to support those films.
Q: How do you feel about “Rust and Bone” being seen by a wider audience beyond France?
Marion Cotillard: I mean I’ve loved it with “La Vie En Rose” to be able to share this outside of my country. And with “Rust and Bone” I had one of the greatest journeys ever and to share this very unconventional love story outside of my country is something that I enjoy more than anything. But I really cherish the fact that I am able to share my French movies because we have an amazing creativity in France.
Q: What was the number one thing that you took away from “Rust and Bone”?
Marion Cotillard: Love. Oh my God. So much love! Love for this story, love for those characters, my character, and Matthias Schoenaerts’ character and the little boy Armand Verdure and all of the characters in this movie. And the love that Jacques Audiard gave to those characters and the love that we have during this movie.
Q: Where would you like to travel?
Marion Cotillard: I always love to travel. Any forest around the world because the energy that comes from those forests is priceless…I went to the Congo, it was not on vacation. The people I met there in the forest, it was inspiring, it was a very positive trip because I felt that those people in the forest really want to fight for it. Yeah. That was one of my most beautiful destinations.
Q: How do you feel tonight being recognized for your career when you obviously are not that old? You have a lot of a career ahead of you.
Marion Cotillard: Yeah. Thank you for mentioning it. I’m always very shy about talking about myself when I’m being honored because I don’t know how to do it. But I try to do my best. I love my work so much and when I dive in a character I want to go to the deepest. And I’m happy when people like it.
Q: How did you prepare for your character in “Rust and Bone”?
Marion Cotillard: That was very special because usually I love to prepare a lot and because I didn’t really have time to prepare for this movie because it happened I had this offer, which was one of my dreams because I’ve always wanted to work with Jacques Audiard and I thought “Oh my god there’s room to shoot, but there is no room to have what I usually need and what Jacques Audiard usually needs,” but I thought, okay, well we’re going to do it with what we have and what we don’t have and so, we had a little time. I had to prepare technically for working with whales and swimming better (I was kind of a bad swimmer)…But it was a very different process from what I usually do. It was a new experience, so it was good, too.
Q: You’ve shot so many beautiful magazine covers. Is there any one in particular that’s your favorite and why?
Marion Cotillard: Well, the first that comes in my mind was the cover of Another Magazine. It was a few years ago. It was creative, so artistic. But when I shot it, I hated photo shoots. I was so uncomfortable. Then I started to work with people who are real artists…and then I started to have fun with it.
The A-list crowd enjoyed FIJI Water while sipping on cocktails by Russian Standard Vodka and Mionetto sparkling wines. Celebrities were gifted euphoria Calvin Klein perfume and cologne, which continued its partnership with the IFP as presenting sponsor at The 22nd Gotham Independent Film Awards for the third consecutive year. The after-party was held at Andaz Wall Street.