Name at birth: Paulette Germaine Riva
French actress Emmanuelle Riva was 85 years old when she was nominated for an Oscar for her leading role in 2012's Amour (directed by Michael Haneke). Riva got her start on the Paris stage, and she became an instant film star with one of her first roles, as the lead in 1959's Hiroshima Mon Amour (directed by Alain Resnais). During the 1960s, Riva embodied the French New Wave leading lady: beautiful, sensitive and intellectually cool. During the 1970s and '80s she often appeared in French TV productions, as well as French and Italian feature films. Her turn in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Trois Couleurs: Bleu (1993) brought her back into the international limelight, and her performance as a stroke-affected senior in Amour made her the oldest person to ever be nominated for an acting Oscar. Her other films include The Eighth Day (1960), Léon Morin, Priest (1961), Therese (1962) and The Eyes, the Mouth (1982).
The Oscars for 2013 were coincidentally scheduled to be awarded on Riva’s 86th birthday.