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Marion Cotillard Wins Top French Honor

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Feb 23, 2008 | 6:20am EST

Actress Marion Cotillard kickstarted her Oscars weekend in style--by claiming France's top acting prize.

The Oscar nominee claimed a Best Actress Cesar for her acclaimed portrayal of tragic singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose on Friday night.

The honor further cements Cotillard as a red-hot favorite for Oscar gold on Sunday--she has already won a British BAFTA and a Golden Globe among her string of acting accolades.

If she does, indeed, take home an Oscar, Cotillard will become the first French Best Actress winner since Simone Signoret in 1960.

Meanwhile, also honored at the Cesars was Mathieu Amalric, who was named Best Actor for his performance as a stroke victim in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Amalric was absent from the prizegiving because he is currently playing the latest James Bond villain on location in Panama. 

La Graine et le Mulet claimed the night's Best Film honor and Abdellatif Kechiche was named Best Director for the movie. Hafsia Herzi claimed the Best Young Actress prize for the film.

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