According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emmanuelle Riva, who had the distinction of being the oldest Best Actress nominee in Oscar history, passed away in a Paris clinic on January 27th, after a long illness. She was 89.
On her Wikipedia page, it says Paulette Germaine Riva (“Emmanuelle” was a nom de guerre) was born in 1927 in Cheniménil, France. Originally a seamstress, she moved to Paris at the age of 26 to pursue her dream of an acting career. In 1957, she made her television debut in the French series, Énigmes de l’histoire, and then never had to sew for anybody else again in her life! Her appearance in the important French film in 1959, Hiroshima mon amour, was considered her breakout role.
Emmanuelle was 85-years-young when she was nominated for Best Actress in 2012 for her role in the film, Amour. Emmanuelle played a stroke victim whose husband cares for her in the last years of her life. That role won her a BAFTA award as well as an Oscar nomination. (She had really good luck with projects with “amour” in the title, huh?) A beloved figure of French stage and cinema, was proof that age matters very little when it comes to success.
Emmanuelle’s only competition for oldest Oscar nominee overall in history was Titanic’s 87-year- old Gloria Stuart, who was nominated in 1997 for Best Supporting Actress.
Emmanuelle was still working as of last year, having filmed a movie in Iceland. French president Francois Hollande noted in a statement that she “deeply marked French cinema” and “created intense emotion in all the roles she played.”
Rest in peace, Emmanuelle.