Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert

Born Isabelle Anne Madeleine Huppert
(1953-03-16) 16 March 1953
Paris, France
Alma mater CNSAD
Occupation Actress
Years active 1971–present
Spouse(s) Ronald Chammah (m. 1982)
Children 3

Isabelle Anne Madeleine Huppert (French pronunciation: [izabɛl yˈpɛʁ]; born 16 March 1953) is a French actress who has appeared in more than 100 film and television productions since her debut in 1971. She won the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer for The Lacemaker (1977) and the César Award for Best Actress for La Ceremonie (1995). She is the most nominated actress for the César Award, with 15 nominations. She was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1999 and was promoted to Officer in 2009.

Huppert's first César nomination was for the 1975 film Aloïse. She went on to win Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for Violette Nozière (1978) and The Piano Teacher (2001) and the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for Story of Women (1988) and La Ceremonie (1995).[1] Her other films include Loulou (1980), La Séparation (1994), 8 Women (2002), Gabrielle (2005) and Amour (2012). Among international film's most prolific actresses, Isabelle Huppert has worked in several countries since her debut. Her English-language films include Heaven's Gate (1980), I Heart Huckabees (2004), The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013), and Louder Than Bombs (2015). She also worked in Italy (with directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Mauro Bolognini, Marco Ferreri and Marco Bellocchio), in Russia (with Igor Minaiev), in Central Europe (with Werner Schroeter, Andrzej Wajda, Ursula Meier, Michael Haneke, Márta Mészáros and Aleksandar Petrović) and on the Asian continent (with Hong Sang-soo, Brillante Mendoza and Rithy Panh).

In 2016, she received international critical acclaim for her work in Paul Verhoeven's Elle and Mia Hansen-Løve's Things to Come, garnering Best Actress awards at the New York Film Critics Circle and Gotham Independent Film Awards.

A six-time Molière Award nominee in France, she made her London stage debut in the title role of the play Mary Stuart in 1996, and her New York stage debut in a 2005 production of 4.48 Psychosis. She returned to the New York stage in 2014, to star in a Sydney Theatre Company production of The Maids.

Early life and career

Huppert was born in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the daughter of Annick (née Beau), an English teacher, and Raymond Huppert, a safe manufacturer. She has three sisters and a brother, and was raised in Ville-d'Avray.[2] Her father was born Jewish, descended from Hungarian immigrants, and later converted to Catholicism.[3] Huppert was encouraged by her mother to begin acting at a young age, and became a teenage star in Paris. She later attended Versailles Conservatoire, where she won a prize for her acting. She is also an alumna of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art of Paris, CNSAD.[4]

Huppert made her television debut in 1971 with Le Prussien, and her film debut in 1972's Faustine et le Bel Été. Her later appearance in the controversial Les Valseuses (1974) made her increasingly recognized by the public. Her international breakthrough came with La Dentelliere (1977),[5] for which she won a BAFTA award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles. She made her American film debut in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate (1980), which opened to poor reviews and was a box office failure; decades later, the film has been reassessed, with some critics considering it an overlooked masterpiece.[6] Throughout the 1980s, Huppert continued to explore enigmatic and emotionally distant characters, most notably in Maurice Pialat's Loulou (1980), Godard's Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1980), Diane Kurys' Coup de foudre (1983), and Claude Chabrol's Une Affaire de Femmes (1988).

Later career and recent credits

In 1994, Huppert collaborated with American director Hal Hartley on Amateur, one of her few English-language performances since Heaven's Gate. She portrayed a manic and homicidal post-office worker in Claude Chabrol's La Cérémonie (1995), with Sandrine Bonnaire, and continued her cinematic relationship with Chabrol in Rien ne va plus (1997), and Merci pour le chocolat (2000). She also appeared in Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher (2001), which is based on a novel of the same name (Die Klavierspielerin) by Austrian author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004, Elfriede Jelinek. In this film, she played a piano teacher named Erika Kohut, who becomes involved with a young pianist and ladies' man, Walter Klemmer. Regarded as one of her most impressive turns, her performance netted the 2001 Best Actress prize in Cannes. In 2004, she starred in Christophe Honoré's Ma Mère as Hélène with Louis Garrel. Here, Huppert plays an attractive middle-aged mother who has an incestuous relationship with her teenage son. Ma Mère was based on a novel by Georges Bataille. 2004 also saw her star opposite Dustin Hoffman in David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees.

Huppert is also an acclaimed stage actress, receiving five Molière Award nominations, including for the title role in a 2001 Paris production of Medea, directed by Jacques Lassalle, and at the Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe in Paris, in the title role of a 2005 production of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.[7] Later that year, she toured the United States in a Royal Court Theatre production of Sarah Kane's theatrical piece 4.48 Psychosis. This production was directed by Claude Régy and performed in French.[8]

Isabelle Huppert was the President of the Jury at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, from 13 May to 24 May 2009.[1] She has been Member of the Jury and Master of Ceremony in previous years, as well as winning the Best Actress Award twice. As president, she and her jury awarded the Palme d'Or to The White Ribbon by the Austrian director Michael Haneke,[9] who has directed her in The Piano Teacher and Time of the Wolf.[10]

Huppert starred in the 11th season finale of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit which aired on 19 May 2010.

In September 2010, the Philippine Daily Inquirer announced that she had been cast in the film Captive by award-winning Filipino director Brillante Mendoza. Huppert played one of the hostages of the Dos Palmas kidnappings.[11]

In 2012, she starred in two films that competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival; Amour and In Another Country, with the former winning the top prize.[12][13]

In 2013, she co-starred in Sydney Theatre Company's The Maids by Jean Genet, with Cate Blanchett and Elizabeth Debicki and directed by Benedict Andrews in a new English translation by Andrews and Andrew Upton. In August 2014, the production toured in New York as a part of the Lincoln Center Festival.[14][15]

In 2016, she starred in two films that received widespread critical acclaim: Mia Hansen-Løve's Things to Come, which premiered at the Berlinale, and Paul Verhoeven's Elle, which premiered at Cannes. Among other nominations, she won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for both films.[16] In the same year, she starred in Krzysztof Warlikowski's stage production of Phèdre(s), which toured Europe as well as BAM in New York.[17]

Personal life

Huppert has been married to writer, producer and director Ronald Chammah since 1982. They have three children including the actress Lolita Chammah with whom she acted in the film Copacabana.[18][19]



Awards and nominations

Huppert poses with Special Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to the world cinema at 44th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

She has been nominated 15 times for a César Award, winning it in 1996 for her work in La Cérémonie.

She is one of only four women who have twice won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival: in 1978 for her role in Violette Nozière by Claude Chabrol (tied with Jill Clayburgh) and in 2001 for The Piano Teacher by Michael Haneke.

She is also one of only two women who have twice received the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival: in 1988 for her part in Une affaire de femmes (tied with Shirley MacLaine), and in 1995 for La Cérémonie (tied with her partner in the movie, Sandrine Bonnaire). Both films were directed by Claude Chabrol. Additionally, she received a Special Lion in 2005 for her role in Gabrielle.

Huppert was twice voted Best Actress at the European Film Awards: in 2001 for playing Erika Kohut in The Piano Teacher, and in 2002 with the entire cast of 8 Women (directed by François Ozon). The latter cast also won a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution, at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival (Halle Berry won Best Actress at Berlin in 2002).[21] She won the Best Actress award at the Montreal World Film Festival (in 2002 for Merci pour le chocolat), at the Moscow International Film Festival (in 1991 for Madame Bovary), at the Deutscher Filmpreis (in 1991 for Malina) and twice at the David di Donatello (in 1978 for La Dentellière and in 2001 for The Piano Teacher).

In 2008 she received the Stanislavsky Award for outstanding achievement in acting, and devotion to the principles of the Stanislavsky method.

She was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre national du Mérite on 8 December 1994[22] and was promoted to Officier (Officer) in 2005.[22]

She was made Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur on 29 September 1999[23] and was promoted to Officier (Officer) in 2009.[23]

BAFTA Film Awards

Year Group Award Film Result
1978 BAFTA Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer The Lacemaker (La Dentellière) Won[24]

César Awards

Year Group Award Film Result
1976 César Awards Best Supporting Actress Aloïse Nominated
1978 Best Actress The Lacemaker (La Dentellière) Nominated
1979 Violette Nozière Nominated
1981 Loulou Nominated
1982 Coup de torchon Nominated
1989 Story of Women (Une affaire de femmes) Nominated
1995 La Séparation Nominated
1996 La Cérémonie Won
1999 L'École de la chair Nominated
2001 Saint-Cyr Nominated
2002 The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste) Nominated
2003 8 Women (8 Femmes) Nominated
2006 Gabrielle Nominated
2013 Best Supporting Actress Amour Nominated
2016 Best Actress Valley of Love Nominated

Lumières Awards

Year Group Award Film Result
1996 Lumières Awards Best Actress La Cérémonie Won
2001 Best Actress Merci pour le chocolat Won
2006 Best Actress Gabrielle Won
2007 Best Actress Comedy of Power Nominated
2016 Best Actress Valley of Love Nominated

Film festivals

Year Group Award Film Result
1978 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Violette Nozière Won
1988 Venice Film Festival Best Actress (Volpi Cup) Story of Women (Une affaire de femmes) Won
1991 Moscow International Film Festival Best Actress Madame Bovary Won[25]
1995 Venice Film Festival Best Actress (Volpi Cup) La Cérémonie Won
2001 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste) Won
2013 Manaki Film Festival Special Golden Camera 300 Herself Won

Molière Awards

Year Group Award Play Result
1989 Molière Awards Best Actress A Month in the Country (Un mois à la campagne) Nominated
1994 Orlando: A Biography (Orlando) Nominated
1995 Nominated
2001 Medea (Médée) Nominated
2005 Hedda Gabler Nominated
2016 Phaedra(s) Nominated


Year Group Award Film Result
2001 European Film Awards Best Actress The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste) Won
2002 European Film Awards Best Actress (shared) 8 Women Won
2002 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Actress The Piano Teacher 2nd Place
National Society of Film Critics Best Actress 2nd Place
New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress 3rd Place
2013 London Film Critics Circle Awards Supporting Actress of the Year Amour Nominated
2016 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Actress Elle / Things to Come Won
New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress Won
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Actress Elle Pending
European Film Awards Best Actress Pending
Gotham Independent Film Awards Best Actress Won
2017 Globes de Cristal Award Best Actress Pending
Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Lead Pending
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Pending

Honorary awards


David Thomson on Claude Chabrol's Madame Bovary: "[Huppert] has to rate as one of the most accomplished actresses in the world today, even if she seems short of the passion or agony of her contemporary, Isabelle Adjani". Stuart Jeffries of The Observer on The Piano Teacher: "This is surely one of the greatest performances of Huppert's already illustrious acting career, though it is one that is very hard to watch." Director, Michael Haneke: "[Huppert] has such professionalism, the way she is able to represent suffering. At one end you have the extreme of her suffering and then you have her icy intellectualism. No other actor can combine the two."[27] Of her performance in 2011's Hidden Love, Roger Ebert said "Isabelle Huppert makes one good film after another.... she is fearless. Directors often depend on her gift for conveying depression, compulsion, egotism and despair. She can be funny and charming, but then so can a lot of actors. She is in complete command of a face that regards the void with blankness."[28] In 2010, S.T. VanAirsdale described her as "arguably the world’s greatest screen actress".[29]


  1. 1 2 "Festival de Cannes: Isabelle Huppert". Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  2. Huppert Interview accessed 26 October 2016
  3. Leon, Masha (18 November 2009). "Sea of Faces: French Film Star Isabelle Huppert Presents Award to Robert Wilson at FIAF Gala". Forward. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  4. Marx, Rebecca Flint. "Isabelle Huppert". Allmovie. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  5. "Isabelle Huppert". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  6. Barber, Nicholas. "Heaven's Gate: From Hollywood disaster to masterpiece". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  7. "Théâtre – Hedda Gabler", interview, Arte TV, 29 January 2005 (French)
  8. "Existentialist Musings, Clinically Pondered in French" by Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, 21 October 2005.
  9. "Huppert hands Haneke the Palme d'Or". 24 May 2009.
  10. "French actress and President of the Jury Isabelle Huppert, right, kisses Austrian director Michael Haneke after he received the Palme d'Or award". Yahoo! Cinéma. 24 May 2009.
  11. Cruz, Marinel (21 September 2010). "A film about Abu Sayaff, by Brillante Mendoza". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  12. "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  13. "Cannes Film Festival 2012 line-up announced". timeout. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  14. The Maids, media release, Sydney Theatre Company
  15. The Maids, media release, Sydney Theatre Company
  16. "Awards - New York Film Critics Circle - NYFCC". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  17. Callahan, Dan (14 September 2016). "Isabelle Huppert Shines in Phaedra(s) at BAM Harvey Theater". Brooklyn Magazine. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  18. Bio at IMDB
  19. Dupont, Joan (18 May 2010). "Isabelle Huppert and Her Daughter Meet on Screen at Cannes". The New York Times.
  20. "Madame Deshoulières [IMPORT]". Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  21. "Prizes & Honours 2002", webpage.
  22. 1 2 "Décret du 13 mai 2005 portant promotion et nomination". JORF. 2005 (112): 8399. 15 May 2005. PREX0508428D. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  23. 1 2 "Décret du 31 décembre 2008 portant promotion et nomination". JORF. 2009 (1): 15. 1 January 2009. PREX0828237D. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  24. "Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles 1977", BAFTA database page.
  25. "17th Moscow International Film Festival (2001)". MIFF. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  26. "30th Moscow International Film Festival (2008)". MIFF. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  27. Jeffries, Stuart (28 October 2001). "Just don't ask her to play cute". The Guardian. London. The Observer.
  28. Ebert, Roger (24 February 2011). "Hidden Love Review". Chicago Sun-Times.
  29. VanAirsdale, S.T. (16 November 2010). "Isabelle Huppert on White Material, Missing Chabrol, and the Joys of Law & Order: SVU".

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