LOS ANGELES – As always, there were a number of surprises Thursday morning with the announcement of the 87th Academy Awards nominations, but one of the biggest ones was Marion Cotillard's nod in the lead actress category for “Two Days, One Night.”
Cotillard, who won in the same category in 2008 for “La Vie en Rose,” has earned a number of critical kudos this awards season for “Two Days,” such as the Best European Actress award at the European Film Awards and critics' groups honors from the New York Film Critics Circle, Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics. That doesn't even include the recognition she received for her performance in “The Immigrant,” which was also (finally) released last year. And yet, because she was looked over by SAG, “Two Days” didn't make the Best Foreign Language Film shortlist (a false indicator in any case) and the film was only playing in New York by the end of the year, many assumed she was too much of a longshot to make the cut.
How wrong we were. Instead, Cotillard – who is in Los Angeles for the Critics' Choice Awards tonight – told HitFix she found herself besieged by phone calls this morning when the nominations were announced.
“My phone started to ring like constantly and the phone of the hotel where I'm staying started to ring, too,” she says. “I got a little worried that something had happened and, actually, something happened, but that was a good thing! So, my wonderful publicist called me this morning at five something and that's how I found out.”
Trust us, from her reaction on the phone, she isn't exaggerating when she says, “I was totally in shock.”
She adds, “These past few days, every time someone would talk to me about a nomination I would make fun of them because I didn't think it was possible. I didn't even think it was impossible. I didn't think about it at all.”
The Dardennes film had been selected as Belgium's foreign language submission and Cotillard had been hoping she would be able to take the legendary filmmakers to their first Academy Awards.
“When we didn't make the shortlist, I have to say I was a little sad because I had this dream to take them to the Oscars,” she says. “And today it's changed everything because I can take this movie to the Oscars and it makes me so happy.”
It's been a long road for “Two Days” since it premiered to strong reviews at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival in May. I asked Cotillard when she knew her collaboration with the Dardennes had led to something so special.
“You know, I don't think they can create something that is not special,” she says with a laugh. “Honestly, I have seen all their movies. I've love them all. They are impossible to put in only one genre. When they asked me to work with them I knew it would be special. I knew that it would be an amazing experience, and that was one of my greatest experiences. They gave me everything I had ever dreamt about in terms of a relationship between an actor and a director. But then you never know that it's going to meet another audience like in the U.S. This is something you cannot predict. This is something you cannot expect when you do a Belgian or French movie and this makes me so, so freaking happy.”
That also means this Belgian movie, which will expand across the country over the next few weeks, will get an even larger audience in the U.S. because of her nomination. How big remains to be seen, but even a conservative box office analyst will tell you ticket sales will at least double.
This is one of the first things that I thought this morning,” Cotillard says. “I thought, 'Oh my God, the movie has just come out. This couldn't be better for the movie!' This is a light put on the movie that already we've had such an amazing journey with it. I'm so happy members of the Academy actually watched the movie.”
“Two Days, One Night” is now playing in New York and Los Angeles. It expands to Chicago Friday and will be in most major markets by Jan. 30.