Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard was born on September 30, 1975 in Paris. Cotillard is the daughter of Jean-Claude Cotillard, an actor, playwright and director, and Niseema Theillaud, an actress and drama teacher. Her father's family is Breton.
Raised in Orléans, France, she made her acting debut as a child with a role in one of her father's plays. She studied drama at the Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique in Orléans. After small appearances and performances in theater, Cotillard had occasional and minor roles in TV series such as Highlander (1992) and Extrême limite (1994), but her career as a film actress began in the mid-1990s. While still a teenager, Cotillard made her cinema debut at the age of 18 in the film L'histoire du garçon qui voulait qu'on l'embrasse (1994), and had small but noticeable roles in films such as Arnaud Desplechin's My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) and Coline Serreau's comedy La belle verte (1996).
In 1996, she had her first lead role in the TV film Chloé (1996), playing the title role - a teenage runaway who is forced into prostitution. Cotillard co-starred opposite Anna Karina, the muse of the Nouvelle Vague.
In 1997, she won her first film award at the Festival Rencontres Cinématographiques d'Istres in France, for her performance as the young imprisoned Nathalie in the short film Affaire classée (1997). Her first prominent screen role was Lilly Bertineau in Gérard Pirès's box-office hit Taxi (1998), a role which she reprised in two sequels: Taxi 2 (2000) and Taxi 3 (2003), this role earned her first César award nomination (France's equivalent to the Oscar) for Most Promising Actress in 1999.
In 1999, Cotillard starred as Julie Bonzon in the Swiss war drama War in the Highlands (1998). For her performance in the film, she won the Best Actress award at the Autrans Film Festival in France. In 2001, Marion starred in Pretty Things (2001) as the twin sisters Marie and Lucie, and was nominated for her second César award for Most Promising Actress.
Cotillard's breakthrough in France came in 2003, when she starred in Yann Samuell's dark romantic comedy Love Me If You Dare (2003), in which she played Sophie Kowalsky, the daughter of Polish immigrants who lives a love-hate relationship with her childhood friend. The film was a box-office hit in France, became a cult film abroad and led Cotillard to bigger projects.
Her first Hollywood movie was Tim Burton's Big Fish (2003), in which she played Joséphine, the wife of William Bloom (played by Billy Crudup). A few years later, Marion starred in Ridley Scott's A Good Year (2006) playing Fanny Chenal, a French café owner who falls in love with Russell Crowe's character. In 2004, she won the Chopard Thophy of Female Revelation at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2005, Cotillard won the César award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance of Tina Lombardi in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement (2004).