Audrey Justine Tautou (French: [odʁɛ ʒystin totu] ; born 9 August 1976) is a French actress. She made her acting debut at age 18 on television, and her feature film debut in Venus Beauty Institute (1999), for which she received critical acclaim and won the César Award for Most Promising Actress.
Tautou achieved international recognition for her lead role in the 2001 film Amélie, which was critically acclaimed and a major box-office success. She has since appeared in films in a range of genres, including the thrillers Dirty Pretty Things (2002) and The Da Vinci Code (2006), and the romantic comedy Priceless (2006). She was acclaimed for her role in the World War I drama A Very Long Engagement (2004), and for her portrayal of French fashion designer Coco Chanel in the biographical drama Coco avant Chanel (2009). She has been nominated three times for the César Award and twice for the BAFTA for Best Actress in a leading role. In June 2004, she became one of the few French actors invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Tautou has modeled for Chanel, Montblanc, L'Oréal and many other companies.
Tautou was born in Beaumont and raised in Montluçon. Her father, Bernard Tautou, is a dental surgeon, and her mother Eveline Marie Laure (née Nuret) is a teacher. She was named after actress Audrey Hepburn. She showed an interest in acting at an early age and started her acting lessons at the Cours Florent, where she learned English and Italian.
In 1998, Tautou participated in "Jeunes Premiers" (The Young Debuts), a Star Search-like competition sponsored by Canal+, and won Best Young Actress at the 9th Béziers Festival of Young Actors. Tonie Marshall gave Tautou a role in her 1999 César-winning film Venus Beauty Institute (also known as Vénus beauté (institut)). In 2000, Tautou received the Prix Suzanne Bianchetti as her country's most promising young film actress.
In 2001, Tautou rose to international fame for her performance as the eccentric lead in the romantic comedy Amélie (original French title: Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain; English: The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain), a film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, it is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre, and tells the story of a shy waitress who decides to improve the lives of those around her while struggling with her own isolation. It was an international co-production between companies in France and Germany.
Amélie won Best Film at the European Film Awards; it won four César Awards (including Best Film and Best Director), two BAFTA Awards (including Best Original Screenplay), and was nominated for five Academy Awards. Grossing over $33 million in limited theatrical release, it is still the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States.
In 2002, Tautou appeared in the British thriller film Dirty Pretty Things directed by Stephen Frears and written by Steven Knight, a drama about two illegal immigrants in London. Produced by BBC Films and Celador Films, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and won the 2003 British Independent Film Award for Best Independent British Film.
In 2004, Tautou starred in A Very Long Engagement, a romantic war film co-written and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It is a fictional tale about a young woman's desperate search for her fiancé who might have been killed in the Battle of the Somme during World War I. It was based on the 1991 novel of the same name by Sebastien Japrisot. In June, Tautou was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
In 2005, Tautou starred in her first full Hollywood production, opposite Tom Hanks, in the film version of Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard and released in May 2006.
She starred alongside Gad Elmaleh in Pierre Salvadori's Hors de prix (Priceless), released 13 December 2006. It has been compared to Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Tautou starred with Guillaume Canet in Claude Berri's Ensemble, c'est tout in 2007, an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Anna Gavalda.
Tautou played the lead role in the biopic of fashion designer Coco Chanel, titled Coco avant Chanel, and directed by Anne Fontaine. Filming began in Paris in September 2008, and released in France on 22 April 2009. The script is partially based on Edmonde Charles-Roux's book "L'Irrégulière" ("The Non-Conformist"). Instead of releasing Coco Before Chanel in the United States itself, Warner Bros. let Sony Pictures Classics handle the release there. The film grossed $6 million in the United States.
Coco Before Chanel was nominated for four BAFTA Awards, three European Film Awards, six César Awards and the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
In 2011, she appeared in Delicacy, a French romantic comedy-drama directed by David and Stéphane Foenkinos and based on the novel of the same name by David Foenkinos. David was nominated for the 2012 Best Writing (Adaptation) César Award and the film was nominated as Best Film.
She appeared in the music video of "I Love Your Smile", a song by British singer-songwriter Charlie Winston.
She was the host of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
She was a member of the jury of the 2015 Berlin Film Festival. She appeared in the 2016 film The Odyssey as Simone Melchior Cousteau.
Tautou began modelling at a very young age, taking modelling courses and other activities, and has modelled for magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire in many countries, and many others.
Tautou was named in 2009 as the next spokesmodel for Chanel No. 5, replacing Nicole Kidman. She was directed in the advertisement by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, with whom she worked on Amélie and A Very Long Engagement. The advertisement was released in 2009 to coincide with release of Coco before Chanel. She has also become the face of L'Oreal and Montblanc and several other ad campaigns.
Tautou over the years has been declared a fashionista and icon by the press, appearing in many magazines, fashion, beauty, and culture. She has attended major fashion week events around the world as well as smaller events. The press sometimes refers to her as "The Chanel Muse".
Tautou studied at the Institut Catholique de Paris. A churchgoer when young, she has stated that she is "not officially" Catholic.
She says she considers France her base, where she plans to focus her career, rather than in the United States. She told Stevie Wong of The Straits Times, "I am, at the end of the day, a French actress. I am not saying I will never shoot an English-language movie again, but my home, my community, my career is rooted in France. I would never move to Los Angeles."
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