Who Is Berenice Bejo? The Artist’s Charismatic Ingenue Kicks Off Breakout Actress Week

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Awards season has long been the perfect time for the movie industry’s fresh faces to gain exposure at movie premieres, on red carpets and in a barrage of print and TV interviews. Often, it’s when we first become aware of young actresses, like Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence last year. This year, it’s not just teenagers catching our eye; a few ladies who’ve been around for decades are finally getting their due as well. All week long, we at TheFablife are saluting these women and looking forward to what they’ll bring us after the last statuettes are handed out on Sunday.

Who: Berenice Bejo

Age: 35

What she did before 2011: Born in Argentina and raised in France, Berenice started her acting career appearing in French television movies and series as well as films on the big screen. She made her American film debut in A Knight’s Tale (2001) and in 2006 met her husband, Artist director Michel Hazanavicius when she co-starred in his French spy parody OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (also starring The Artist’s Jean Dujardin).

Why we’re paying attention now: In 2011, Berenice starred in The Artist, which is not only a favorite with critics, but also a super entertaining movie, despite apparent strikes against its mass appeal — namely being silent, black-and-white and from France. While in London promoting the movie, Berenice revealed that she didn’t have to audition for the role of Peppy Miller because she inspired the character. And from what we’ve seen of her in interviews and on red carpets, she does seem very like the generous, optimistic young actress she plays in the movie. After picking up trophies left and right (from the Golden Globes to the Golden Collar), Berenice, Jean, Michel and the film itself are all nominated for Oscars.

What’s next? Berenice is starring in the upcoming French film Populaire set to release later this year.

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