Isabelle Huppert Receives French Film Honor From UniFrance

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Isabelle Huppert

The Golden Globe best actress winner was honored for her promotion of French cinema around the world.

Golden Globe best actress winner Isabelle Huppert added the French Film Award to her trophy cabinet during a ceremony Monday night at the French culture ministry.

Huppert — who was said to have just returned from Los Angeles on Monday morning with her Elle trophy safely stored in her suitcase — accepted the honor from film-promotion body UniFrance. The award is fairly new and coincides with the film body’s French film festival and market.

Actress Sandrine Kiberlain and directors Benoit Jacquot, Joachim Lafosse, Mia Hansen-Love and Anne Fontaine were among those that turned out to celebrate Huppert.

Directors Michael Haneke, Agnieszka Holland, Brillante Mendoza and Elle helmer Paul Verhoeven sent a video message to praise the star.

Huppert accepted the award from culture minister Audrey Azoulay, UniFrance president Jean-Paul Salome and director Isabelle Giordano for her contribution to French cinema.

Azoulay noted that in this uncertain political time, Huppert's work shows a France that is diverse.

"That these values are embodied by a woman with your independence and your freedom, probably supports many others in the world," she said.

Giordano said that Huppert is “not an actress, she is more: courage, elegance … she is France.”

Salome noted that Huppert has traveled tirelessly from Tokyo to Toronto to promote French film.

“I have realized through my travels how much people abroad love French cinema,” Huppert said upon accepting the award. "Everywhere in the world, French cinema is loved for its audacity, its sense of subversion."

The actress expressed surprise that her Golden Globe win was for a French-language film.

Huppert also alluded to the current political climate around the world.

"Whatever happens in the coming months, I hope that this culture will be carried to the highest level. It is a powerful and essential political lever," she said.

She added that being able to act both on stage and screen has been “an extraordinary privilege, every day, every morning of my life.”

This is the second year for the French Film Award at UniFrance’s growing annual film market and global junket Rendez-Vous With French Cinema. Last year, The Little Prince producers Dimitri Rassam and Aton Soumache took home the honor. In 2015, Lucy director Luc Besson was feted as Man of the Year.

Despite Elle being left off the best foreign-language Oscar shortlist, Huppert is tipped to score a nomination in the best actress category from the Academy. She also is in the running for a Cesar Award nom from the French Academy. She already has received a Lumiere Award nomination in France. Those prizes are set to be handed out Jan. 30.

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