César Award for Best Actress

César de la meilleure actrice
César Award for Best Actress
Awarded for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Country France
Presented by Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma
First awarded 1976
Currently held by Catherine Frot for Marguerite (2016)
Official website academie-cinema.org

The César Award for Best Actress (French: César de la meilleure actrice) is one of the César Awards, presented annually by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma to recognize the outstanding performance in a leading role of an actress who has worked within the French film industry during the year preceding the ceremony. Nominees and winner are selected via a run-off voting by all the members of the Académie.



Superlative Best Actress Best Supporting Actress Overall
(including Most Promising Actress)
Actress with most awards Isabelle Adjani 5 Dominique Blanc 3 Isabelle Adjani 5
Actress with most nominations Isabelle Huppert
Catherine Deneuve
13 Noémie Lvovsky 6 Isabelle Huppert 15
Actress with most nominations
without ever winning
Emmanuelle Béart 5 Noémie Lvovsky 6 Noémie Lvovsky 7
Film with most nominations Too Beautiful for You
The Ceremony
8 Women
2 The Crisis 3 Venus Beauty Institute
8 Women
Oldest winner Emmanuelle Riva 85 Suzanne Flon 72 Emmanuelle Riva 85
Oldest nominee Emmanuelle Riva 85 Claude Gensac 87 Claude Gensac 87
Youngest winner Sandrine Bonnaire 18 Emmanuelle Béart 23 Charlotte Gainsbourg 14
Youngest nominee Charlotte Gainsbourg 17 Christine Pascal 22 Charlotte Gainsbourg 14

As of 2016, 75 actresses have been nominated in the category, with a total of 32 different winners. The average age at first nomination is 36 and the average age of winners at first win is 38.

With five wins (1982, 1984, 1989, 1995, 2010), Isabelle Adjani has more César Award for Best Actress than any other woman. Five actresses have won two Best Actress César: Romy Schneider (1976, 1979), Sabine Azéma (1985, 1987), Catherine Deneuve (1981, 1993), Nathalie Baye (1983, 2006) and Yolande Moreau (2005, 2009).

Adjani also holds the record of most César Award in an acting category and of most César in a single artistic category. She is followed with 4 César by Dominique Blanc (1 Best Actress César and 3 Best Supporting Actress César) and Nathalie Baye (2 Best Actress César and 2 Best Supporting Actress César).

Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Deneuve tie for the record of most nominations with 13. Including Best Supporting Actress, Huppert has been nominated a total of 15 times, which makes her the overall most-nominated female performer.

Cécile de France is the only actress to have been nominated for two different roles the same year, in 2007 for Avenue Montaigne and for When I Was a Singer. The Académie has since modified the nomination rules to ensure that no one could receive more than one individual nomination by category.

Eight women have won both the César Award for Best Actress and the César Award for Best Supporting Actress:

Nathalie Baye is the only actress with multiple wins in both categories. She is also the only performer to have won an acting César in three consecutive years, in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

Three films have received both accolades: One Deadly Summer in 1984 (Best Actress to Isabelle Adjani, Best Supporting Actress to Suzanne Flon), Indochine in 1993 (Best Actress to Catherine Deneuve, Best Supporting Actress to Dominique Blanc) and Queen Margot in 1995 (Best Actress to Isabelle Adjani, Best Supporting Actress to Virna Lisi).

Five women have won the César Award for Best Actress after previously winning the César Award for Most Promising Actress:

Only one film has received both accolades: The Dreamlife of Angels in 1999 (Best Actress to Elodie Bouchez, Most Promising Actress to Natacha Régnier).

Twelve women have received nominations in the three competitive acting categories: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Most Promising Actress. They are Emmanuelle Béart, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dominique Blanc, Anne Brochet, Karin Viard, Sandrine Kiberlain, Emmanuelle Devos, Cécile de France, Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Emilie Dequenne and Adèle Haenel. So far, no actress has achieved to win the three awards.

To date, the longest living winner is Emmanuelle Riva, aged 89, and the most short-lived is Romy Schneider, who died at 43. The earliest winner who is still alive is Miou-Miou (Memoirs of a French Whore, 1980).

Posthumous nominations

There have been only two posthumous nominations for any acting César and both occurred in the Best Actress category. Romy Schneider was nominated in 1983 for The Passerby, seven months after her death possibly by suicide. Pascale Ogier died of a drug overdose at 25, three months before receiving a nomination for Full Moon in Paris in 1985.

Romy Schneider is the only actress to have been presented a posthumous Honorary César, in 2008. Actor Alain Delon presented the César, as the date also corresponded to the forty years of the iconic film La Piscine in which they starred together. During the standing ovation, he turned towards a giant portrait of the actress and declared in German that she was the love of his life.

International presence

As the César Awards are centered on the French Cinema, the majority of recipients are French and performed in French language. The only non-French winner of the Best Actress César is Belgian actress Yolande Moreau (2005, 2009). Romy Schneider was born German and Bérénice Bejo Argentine, but both had become French naturalized citizens by the time of their wins.

International actresses who have received nomination are:

The Best Actress César has been awarded twice for a foreign-language performance: to Isabelle Adjani for her English-language performance in Possession (1982) and to Sylvie Testud for her Japanese-language performance in Fear and Trembing (2004). In addition, Bérénice Bejo is the only performer in the history of the César to receive an award for a silent role, in The Artist (2012).

Other awards

Four actresses have received nominations for both the César Award for Best Actress and the Academy Award for Best Actress:

Cotillard is the only woman to have won a Best Actress César and Oscar for the same performance. The other actress to have won both awards is Simone Signoret but she did it with two different films.

Bérénice Bejo is the only actress to have been nominated for the César Award for Best Actress and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, in 2012 for The Artist; she won the César but lost the Oscar. Juliette Binoche is the only actress to have won both awards, but for two different performances.

Two actresses have won both the Best Actress César and the Best Actress Award of the Cannes Film Festival for the same performance: Isabelle Adjani for Possession and Elodie Bouchez for The Dreamlife of Angels. In addition, Simone Signoret, Jeanne Moreau, Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche have won both awards as well, but not for the same role.

Winners and nominees

Following the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma (AATC)'s practice, the films below are listed by year of ceremony, which corresponds to the year following the film's year of release. For example, the César for Best Actress of 2010 was awarded on February 27, 2010 for a performance in a film released between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009.

Actresses are selected via a two-round vote: first round to choose the nominees, second round to designate the winner. All the members of the Académie, without regard to their branch, are eligible to vote on both rounds. The number of nominees, initially set to four, was expanded to five in 1984 and then to seven in 2012.

Winners are listed first in bold, followed by the other nominees in alphabetic order.


Year Winner and Nominees Film Original Title Role(s)
Romy SchneiderThat Most Important Thing: LoveL'Important c'est d'aimerNadine Chevalier
Isabelle AdjaniThe Story of Adele H.L'Histoire d'Adèle H.Adèle Hugo
Catherine DeneuveLovers Like UsLe SauvageNelly Ratabou
Delphine SeyrigIndia SongAnne-Marie Stretter
Annie GirardotDocteur Françoise GaillandFrançoise Gailland
Isabelle AdjaniBaroccoLaure
Miou-MiouF comme FairbanksMarie
Romy SchneiderUne Femme à sa fenêtreMargot Santorini
Simone SignoretMadame RosaLa Vie devant soiMadame Rosa
Brigitte FosseyLes Enfants du placardJuliette
Isabelle HuppertThe LacemakerLa DentellièrePomme
Miou-MiouThis Sweet SicknessDites-lui que je l'aimeJuliette
Delphine SeyrigRepéragesJulie
Romy SchneiderA Simple StoryUne Histoire simpleMarie
Anouk AiméeMon premier amourJane Romain
Annie GirardotThe Key Is in the DoorLa Clé sur la porteMarie Arnault
Isabelle HuppertViolette NozièreViolette Nozière


Year Winner and Nominees Film Original Title Role(s)
Miou-MiouMemoirs of a French WhoreLa DérobadeMarie
Nastassja KinskiTessTess d'Uberville
Dominique LaffinThe Crying WomanLa Femme qui pleureDominique
Romy SchneiderClair de femmeLydia
Catherine DeneuveThe Last MetroLe Dernier MétroMarion Steiner
Nathalie BayeA Week's VacationUne Semaine de vacancesLaurence
Nicole GarciaMy American UncleMon Oncle d'AmériqueJanine Garnier
Isabelle HuppertLoulouNelly
Isabelle AdjaniPossessionAnna / Helen
Fanny ArdantThe Woman Next DoorLa Femme d'à côtéMathilde Bauchard
Catherine DeneuveHotel AmericaHôtel des AmériquesHélène
Isabelle HuppertCoup de torchonRose Marcaillou
Nathalie BayeLa BalanceNicole Danet
Miou-MiouJosephaJosepha Manet
Romy Schneider (posthumous)The PasserbyLa Passante du Sans-SouciElsa Wiener / Lina Baumstein
Simone SignoretL'Etoile du NordMadame Baron
Isabelle AdjaniOne Deadly SummerL'Eté meurtrierEliane
Fanny ArdantConfidentially YoursVivement dimanche !Barbara Becker
Nathalie BayeJ'ai épousé une ombreHélène Georges
Nicole GarciaLes Mots pour le direMarie
Miou-MiouEntre NousCoup de foudreMadeleine
Sabine AzémaA Sunday in the CountryUn Dimanche à la campagneIrène
Jane BirkinThe PirateLa PirateAlma
Valérie KapriskyThe Public WomanLa Femme publiqueEthel
Julia MigenesCarmenCarmen
Pascale Ogier (posthumous)Full Moon in ParisLes Nuits de la pleine luneLouise
Sandrine BonnaireVagabondSans Toit ni loiMona Bergeron
Isabelle AdjaniSubwayHelena
Juliette BinocheRendez-vousNina / Anne Larrieux
Nicole GarciaDeath in a French GardenPéril en la demeureJulia Tombsthay
Charlotte RamplingHe Died with His Eyes Open On ne meurt que deux foisBarbara Spark
Sabine AzémaMéloRomaine Belcroix
Juliette BinocheMauvais SangAnna
Jane BirkinLa Femme de ma vieLaura
Béatrice DalleBetty Blue37°2 le matinBetty
Miou-MiouMénageTenue de soiréeMonique
AnémoneThe Grand HighwayLe Grand CheminMarcelle
Sandrine BonnaireUnder the Sun of SatanSous le Soleil de SatanMouchette
Catherine DeneuveAgent troubleAmanda Webber
Nastassja KinskiMaladie d'amourJuliette
Jeanne MoreauThe MiracleLe MiraculéSabine
Isabelle AdjaniCamille ClaudelCamille Claudel
Catherine DeneuveA Strange Place to MeetDrôle d'endroit pour une rencontreFrance
Charlotte GainsbourgThe Little ThiefLa Petite VoleuseJanine Castang
Isabelle HuppertStory of WomenUne Affaire de femmesMarie Latour
Miou-MiouThe ReaderLa LectriceConstance / Marie


Year Winner and Nominees Film Original Title Role(s)
Carole BouquetToo Beautiful for YouTrop belle pour toiFlorence Barthélémy
Sabine AzémaLife and Nothing ButLa Vie et rien d'autreIrène de Courtil
Josiane BalaskoToo Beautiful for YouTrop belle pour toiColette Chevassu
Emmanuelle BéartLes Enfants du désordreMarie
Sandrine BonnaireMonsieur HireAlice
Anne ParillaudNikitaNikita
Nathalie BayeUn week-end sur deuxCamille Valmont
Anne BrochetCyrano de BergeracRoxane
Tsilla CheltonTatie DanielleDanielle Billard
Miou-MiouMay FoolsMilou en maiCamille
Jeanne MoreauThe Old Lady Who Walked in the SeaLa Vielle qui marchait dans la merLady M.
Emmanuelle BéartLa Belle NoiseuseMarianne
Juliette BinocheThe Lovers on the BridgeLes Amants du Pont-NeufMichèle STalens
Anouk GrinbergMerci la vieJoëlle
Irène JacobThe Double Life of VéroniqueLa double vie de VéroniqueWeronika / Véronique
Catherine DeneuveIndochineEliane Devries
AnémoneLe petit Prince a ditMélanie
Emmanuelle BéartA Heart in WinterUn Cœur en hiverCamille
Juliette BinocheDamageFataleAnna Barton
Caroline CellierLe ZèbreCamille
Juliette BinocheThree Colors: BlueTrois Couleurs : BleuJulie Vignon de Courcy
Sabine AzémaSmoking/No SmokingCélia / Sylvie / Irène / Jospéhine
Josiane BalaskoTout le monde n'a pas eu la chance d'avoir des parents communistesIrène
Catherine DeneuveMy Favorite SeasonMa Saison préféréeEmilie
Anouk Grinberg1, 2, 3, SunUn, deux, trois, soleilVictorine
Isabelle AdjaniQueen MargotLa Reine MargotMarguerite de Valois
AnémoneSomething FishyPas très catholiqueMaxime Chabrier
Sandrine BonnaireJoan the MaidenJeanne la PucelleJoan of Arc
Isabelle HuppertThe SeparationLa SéparationAnne
Irène JacobThree Colors: RedTrois Couleurs : RougeValentine Dussaut
Isabelle HuppertThe CeremonyLa CérémonieJeanne
Sabine AzémaHappiness Is in the FieldLe Bonheur est dans le préNicole Bergeade
Emmanuelle BéartNelly and Mr. ArnaudNelly et Monsieur ArnaudNelly
Juliette BinocheThe Horseman on the RoofLe Hussard sur le toitPauline de Théus
Sandrine BonnaireThe CeremonyLa CérémonieSophie
Fanny ArdantPédale douceEva
Catherine DeneuveThievesLes VoleursMarie Leblanc
Charlotte GainsbourgLove, etc.Marie
Anouk GrinbergMy ManMon HommeMarie Abarth
Marie TrintignantLe Cri de la soieMarie Benjamin
Ariane AscarideMarius and JeannetteMarius et JeannetteJeannette
Sabine AzémaSame Old SongOn connaît la chansonOdile Lalande
Marie GillainOn GuardLe BossuAurore de Nevers
Sandrine KiberlainSeventh HeavenLe Septième cielMathilde
Miou-MiouDry CleaningNettoyage à secNicole
Elodie BouchezThe Dreamlife of AngelsLa Vie rêvée des angesIsa
Catherine DeneuvePlace VendômeMarianne
Isabelle HuppertThe School of FleshL'Ecole de la chairDominique
Sandrine KiberlainFor SaleA vendreFrance Robert
Marie TrintignantComme elle respireJeanne


Year Winner and Nominees Film Original Title Role(s)
Karin ViardHaut les cœurs !Emma
Nathalie BayeVenus Beauty InstituteVénus Beauté (Institut)Angèle
Sandrine BonnaireEast/WestEst-OuestMarie Golovine
Catherine FrotLa DilettantePierrette Dumortier
Vanessa ParadisGirl on the BridgeLa Fille sur le pontAdèle
Dominique BlancStand-byHélène
Emmanuelle BéartSentimental DestiniesLes Destinées sentimentalesPauline
Juliette BinocheThe Widow of Saint-PierreLa Veuve de Saint-PierreMadame La
Isabelle HuppertThe King's DaughtersSaint-CyrMadame de Maintenon
Muriel RobinMarie-LineMarie-Line
Emmanuelle DevosRead My LipsSur mes lèvresCarla Behm
Catherine FrotChaosHélène
Isabelle HuppertThe Piano TeacherLa PianisteErika Kohut
Charlotte RamplingUnder the SandSous le sableMarie Drillon
Audrey TautouAmélieLe Fabuleux destin d'Amélie PoulainAmélie Poulain
Isabelle CarréBeautiful MemoriesSe Souvenir des belles chosesClaire Poussin
Fanny Ardant8 WomenHuit FemmesPierrette
Ariane AscarideMarie-Jo and Her Two LoversMarie-Jo et ses deux amoursMarie-Jo
Juliette BinocheJet LagDécalage horaireRose
Isabelle Huppert8 WomenHuit FemmesAugustine
Sylvie TestudFear and TremblingStupeur et tremblementsAmélie Nothomb
Josiane BalaskoThat WomanCette femme-làMichèle Varin
Nathalie BayeFeelingsLes SentimentsCarole
Isabelle CarréFeelingsLes SentimentsEdith
Charlotte RamplingSwimming PoolSarah Morton
Yolande MoreauWhen the Sea RisesQuand la mer monte...Irène
Maggie CheungCleanEmily
Emmanuelle DevosKings and QueenRois et reineNora
Audrey TautouA Very Long EngagementUn long dimanche de fiançaillesMathilde
Karin ViardThe Role of Her LifeLe Rôle de sa vieClaire Rocher
Nathalie BayeThe Young LieutenantLe petit lieutenantCommandant Vaudieu
Isabelle CarréEntre ses mainsClaire Gauthier
Anne ConsignyNot Here to Be LovedJe ne suis pas là pour être aiméFrançoise Rubion
Isabelle HuppertGabrielleGabrielle Hervey
Valérie LemercierPalais royal !Princesse Armelle
Marina HandsLady ChatterleyLady Chatterley
Cécile de FranceAvenue MontaigneFauteuils d'orchestreJessica
Cécile de FranceWhen I Was a SingerQuand j'étais chanteurMarion
Catherine FrotThe Page TurnerLa Tourneuse de pagesAriane Fouchécourt
Charlotte GainsbourgI DoPrête-moi ta mainEmma
Marion CotillardLa Vie en roseLa MômeEdith Piaf
Isabelle CarréAnna M.Anna M.
Cécile de FranceA SecretUn SecretTania
Marina FoïsDarlingCatherine Nicolle a.k.a. Darling
Catherine FrotOdette ToulemondeOdette Toulemonde
Yolande MoreauSéraphineSéraphine Louis
Catherine FrotLe crime est notre affairePrudence Beresford
Kristin Scott ThomasI've Loved You So LongIl y a longtemps que je t'aimeJuliette Fontaine
Tilda SwintonJuliaJulia
Sylvie TestudSaganFrançoise Sagan


Year Winner and Nominees Film Original Title Role(s)
Isabelle AdjaniSkirt DayLa Journée de la jupeSonia Bergerac
Dominique BlancThe Other OneL'AutreAnne-Marie
Sandrine KiberlainMademoiselle ChambonVéronique Chambon
Kristin Scott ThomasLeavingPartirSuzanne
Audrey TautouCoco Before ChanelCoco avant ChanelGabrielle Chanel
Sara ForestierThe Names of LoveLe Nom des gensBahia Benmahmoud
Isabelle CarréRomantics AnonymousLes Emotifs anonymesAngélique
Catherine DeneuvePoticheSuzanne Pujol
Charlotte GainsbourgThe TreeL'ArbreDawn O'Neil
Kristin Scott ThomasSarah's KeyElle s'appelait SarahJulia Jarmond
Bérénice BejoThe ArtistPeppy Miller
Ariane AscarideThe Snows of KilimanjaroLes Neiges du KilimandjaroMarie-Claire
Leïla BekhtiThe SourceLa Source des femmesLeïla
Valérie DonzelliDeclaration of WarLa Guerre est déclaréeJuliette
Marina FoïsPolisseIris
Marie GillainAll Our DesiresToutes nos enviesClaire
Karin ViardPolisseNadine
Emmanuelle Riva Amour Anne Laurent
Marion Cotillard Rust and Bone De rouille et d'os Stéphanie
Catherine Frot Haute Cuisine Les saveurs du Palais Hortense Laborie
Noémie Lvovsky Camille Rewinds Camille redouble Camille Vaillant
Corinne Masiero Louise Wimmer Louise Wimmer
Léa Seydoux Farewell, My Queen Les Adieux à la Reine Sidonie Laborde
Hélène Vincent A Few Hours of Spring Quelques heures de printemps Yvette Évrard
Sandrine Kiberlain 9 Month Stretch 9 mois ferme Ariane Felder
Fanny Ardant Bright Days Ahead Les Beaux Jours Caroline
Bérénice Bejo The Past Le Passé Marie Brisson
Catherine Deneuve On My Way Elle s'en va Bettie
Sara Forestier Suzanne Suzanne
Emmanuelle Seigner Venus in Fur La Vénus à la fourrure Vanda
Léa Seydoux Blue Is the Warmest Colour La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 Emma
Adèle HaenelLove at First Fight Les Combattants Madeleine
Juliette Binoche Clouds of Sils Maria Sils Maria Maria Enders
Marion Cotillard Two Days, One Night Deux Jours, Une Nuit Sandra Bya
Catherine Deneuve In the Courtyard Dans la cour Mathilde
Emilie Dequenne Not My Type Pas son genre Jennifer
Sandrine Kiberlain Elle l'adore Muriel Bayen
Karin Viard The Bélier Family La Famille Bélier Gigi Bélier
Catherine Frot Marguerite Marguerite Dumont
Loubna AbidarMuch Loved Noha
Emmanuelle BercotMon roi Tony
Cécile de France Summertime La Belle Saison Carole
Catherine Deneuve Standing Tall La Tête haute Florence Blaque
Isabelle Huppert Valley of Love Isabelle
Soria Zeroual Fatima Fatima

Multiple nominations

2 nominations

  • Yolande Moreau (2 wins)
  • Berenice Bejo (1 win)
  • Dominique Blanc (1 win)
  • Emmanuelle Devos (1 win)
  • Sara Forestier (1 win)
  • Annie Girardot (1 win)
  • Jeanne Moreau (1 win)
  • Simone Signoret (1 win)
  • Sylvie Testud (1 win)
  • Marina Foïs
  • Léa Seydoux
  • Delphine Seyrig
  • Marie Gillain
  • Irène Jacob
  • Nastassja Kinski
  • Marie Trintigant
  • Jane Birkin

3 nominations

  • Anémone (1 win)
  • Ariane Ascaride (1 win)
  • Marion Cotillard (1 win)
  • Josiane Balasko
  • Nicole Garcia
  • Anouk Grinberg
  • Charlotte Rampling
  • Kristin Scott Thomas
  • Audrey Tautou

4 nominations

  • Karin Viard (1 win)
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg
  • Cécile de France

5 nominations

  • Romy Schneider (2 wins)
  • Fanny Ardant (1 win)
  • Isabelle Carré (1 win)
  • Sandrine Kiberlain (1 win)
  • Emmanuelle Béart

6 nominations

  • Sabine Azéma (2 wins)
  • Sandrine Bonnaire (1 win)

7 nominations

  • Nathalie Baye (2 wins)
  • Catherine Frot (1 win)

8 nominations

  • Isabelle Adjani (5 wins)

9 nominations

  • Juliette Binoche (1 win)

10 nominations

  • Miou-Miou (1 win)

13 nominations

  • Catherine Deneuve (2 wins)
  • Isabelle Huppert (1 win)

Four actresses share the record of most consecutive nominations with 3: Juliette Binoche (1992, 1993, 1994), Isabelle Huppert (2001, 2002, 2003), Kristin Scott Thomas (2009, 2010, 2011) and Catherine Deneuve (2014, 2015, 2016).

See also

External links

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