Emmanuelle Riva

emanuel Emmanuelle Riva has earned a nomination for Best Actress at the Academy Awards ceremony of 2013, which will take place in Hollywood, California, on February 24. The nod comes courtesy of her mesmerizing star turn in the sentimental French language fan favorite, “Amour”. Riva’s excellent performance, which was by turns visceral, brooding, quiet, and fiery, earned her quick recognition among the ranks of perceptive film critics and knowledgeable movie going fans. While the film may have spoken in French, the timely introduction of subtitles enabled audiences to grasp the meaning behind Riva’s subtle, low pitched, vocal nuances and naturalistic bodily gestures.

Conceived, screenwritten, and directed by Michael Haneke, “Amour” premiered worldwide in full international release on December 19, 2012. It had already been a hit contender at the annual Cannes Film Festival. While “Amour” has a small but able main cast of characters, including such luminaries of the international screen as Jean Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, and William Shimell, it was indisputably the stately presence and quiet, serene, grace of Emmanuelle Riva that made the movie such a quick box office smash success. Indeed, “Amour” quickly made it to the head of the “foreign films” short list, which is always a viable component of the Academy nods.

Emmanuelle Riva can take heart in knowing that she is one of a handful of major French language actresses who have secured major industry recognition in America. Her spectacular turn in “Amour” will doubtlessly be duplicated by succeeding generations of “journeyman” actresses, but never reliably duplicated. Her recognition as Best Actress at the 85th annual Academy Awards, should it come to fruition, will be well deserved, and long studied. Her portrayal of an aging, fearful wife and mother, well into her old age and facing premonitions of her own impending mortality, struck an icy chill into the hearts of movie goers, and remains an impressive piece of acting skill.