The Oscar, the highest recognition in the film industry, has illuminated the careers of many French artists over the years. From Marion Cotillard to Jean Dujardin, including lesser-known talents like Sylvain Bellemare, the French have left their mark in the history of the ceremony.

It all started in 1934, when Claudette Colbert received the Oscar for best actress for Frank Capra’s New York Miami. Although her early childhood was French, she was 7 years old when her parents emigrated in 1912, and her entire career was American. Ernst Lubitsch, Cecil B. DeMille, John Ford, Mitchell Leisen and especially Capra gave him a Hollywood star destiny.

Following this award, French cinema will have to wait more than 70 years to see one of its talents be rewarded for the leading role in a film. In 1965, Lila Kedrova won the Oscar for best actress in a second for Zorba the Greek. In 1997, Juliette Binoche won the same award for her role in The English Patient.

In 2008, Marion Cotillard won the Oscar for best actress for her portrayal of Édith Piaf in the biographical film La Môme (2007), directed by Olivier Dahan.

The interpreter of Edith Piaf will compete with the Australian Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, the golden age), Julie Christie (Far from her), the Canadian Ellen Page (Juno) and the American Laura Linney (The family Savage). For many specialists, the duel will take place between Marion Cotillard and Julie Christie. The latter won the 2008 Golden Globes for best actress in a drama film.

As for French actors, only Jean Dujardin will have conquered the other side of the Atlantic. The French actor won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the silent film The Artist (2011).

In total, the film won five Oscars, including Best Motion Picture Score. Author of the music, Ludovic Bource was in competition against pillars of film music like John Williams, doubly nominated for War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin or Howard Shore (Hugo Cabret). As for French director Michel Hazanavicius, he won the Oscar for best director.

Michel Legrand received three Oscars for best film score for The Thomas Crown Affair (1969), Summer 42 (1972) and Yentl in 1984. Maurice Jarre also won three Oscars for three David Lean films: Lawrence d Arabia (1963), Doctor Zhivago (1966) and The Road to India (1985).

Most recently, composer Alexandre Desplat won two Academy Awards for Best Film Score: for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water (2017).

In 2002, Brigitte Broch, French production designer, won the Oscar for best artistic direction for her work on Moulin Rouge. Sylvain Bellemare, French sound editor, won the Oscar for best sound editing for his work on the film Arrival (2016), directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Failing to have been awarded a statuette during their career, eight French people received an honorary Oscar. They are Charles Boyer (1943), Maurice Chevalier (1959), Henri Langlois (1974), Jean Renoir (1975), Jean-Luc Godard (2011), Jean-Claude Carrière (2015), Agnès Varda (2018) and Euzhan Palcy (2023).

The 96th edition of the Hollywood high mass will perhaps expand this list. As a reminder, Anatomy of a Fall is in the running in the categories of best screenplay, film, editing, best actress and direction. Verdict on the night of Sunday to Monday.