Watch out for... Marion Cotillard

MoviesEntertainmentFilm FestivalsArts and CultureCelebritiesMarion CotillardEdith Piaf

This awards season it's all about Marion Cotillard.

She's the 31-year-old French actress whose performance as Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose" left critics desperately searching for new words to describe her: "incredible," "breathtaking," "inspiring," "gorgeous. "

"La Vie en Rose" was released in the U.S. on June 8 and though the season has only just begun, Cotillard has already received best actress or breakthrough actress awards from the Seattle International Film Festival, the Hollywood Film Festival and the Cabourg Romantic Film Festival.

The 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (Jan. 3-14) has jumped on the Cotillard train with an announcement that it will honor her with the breakthrough performance award. She joins past recipients such as Jennifer Hudson and Felicity Huffman.

If Cotillard's name is unfamiliar, you might have seen her in passing and not realized it. She recently appeared opposite Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's "A Good Year." In 2004 she won a Cesar Award for best supporting actress for her role in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "A Very Long Engagement."

But though she may have earned accolades for her earlier work, it's her performance in "La Vie en Rose" that has placed her firmly in the "Thespian with a capitol T" camp.

As Stephen Holden gushed in the New York Times, "Marion Cotillard's feral portrait of the French singer Edith Piaf as a captive wild animal hurling herself at the bars of her cage is the most astonishing immersion of one performer into the body and soul of another I've ever encountered in a film."

In other words, expect to hear a lot more about her as awards season kicks into high gear.

deborah.netburn@latimes.com

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