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Oscars 2013: 5 facts about Emmanuelle Riva, Oldest Best Lead Actress nominee

Get more: Oscars, Award Shows
01/21/2013 by Corinne Heller

French actress Emmanuelle Riva, 85, is the oldest woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role -- a nod given for her performance in the movie "Amour."

"Amour" won the top Palme d'Or prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and is nominated for a total of five Oscars for this year's ceremony -- Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director and Writing (Original Screenplay) for Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke and Best Foreign Language Film, in which it serves as Austria's entry.

In the film, Riva plays an elderly woman who suffers a stroke. Her health declines further as her husband, portrayed by Jean-Louis Trintignant, struggles to take care of her and deal with the potential loss of his love.

Check out five facts about Emmanuelle Riva.

1. She will celebrate her 86th birthday on the day of the 2013 Oscars.

The 2013 Oscars takes place on February 24. Riva was born on that day in 1927 in Cheniménil, Lorraine, located in northeastern France.

2. She rose to fame with the 1959 French movie "Hiroshima Mon Amour."

Riva began her on-screen career in the late 1950s but "Hiroshina Mon Amour" marked her breakout role. In the film, she plays a French actress who is going through a breakup with a Japanese boyfriend, who is married to another woman. The two debate the effects of World War II and the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima.

3. If she takes home the Oscar for her performance in "Amour," it will be her first.

Riva has never been nominated for an Oscar before. On Friday, January 18, she won the Best Actress Award at the Prix Lumieres Awards in Paris for her performance in "Amour." (See photo, top left)The ceremony honors top talent in French and French-speaking cinema. She received BAFTA Film Award nods for both "Amour" and "Hiroshima Mon Amour."

4. She may not enjoy walking the red carpet at the Oscars.

Riva talked to the UK newspaper The Guardian in November about her experience at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, saying: "The crowds, the photographers shouting at you. So many flashes going off. It's crazy, it blinds you. 'Turn one way! Turn the other way!' What's that about? We're not performing monkeys."

"I know that some actors love it -- they live for it," she added. "But I don't like it. Haneke doesn't like it either."

5. In fact, she doesn't fully embrace fame at all.

"You know I am a savage, a peasant, a worker!" Riva said in an October interview with MyLorraine.fr. "Money has never been my goal, the star system has never been my goal."

She told the New York Times in January: "I've never wanted to be a star, never. I tried to do things that pleased me, and I needed to do various things. It is dreadful to see actors reproducing the same image constantly."

The Oscar ceremony will air live on Sunday, February 24, 2013 on ABC, OTRC.com's parent company.

Enter the Ultimate Oscar Red Carpet Fan Experience Sweepstakes for a chance to win TWO bleacher tickets and a trip to this year's Oscars red carpet in Los Angeles.

You can also check out the interactive My Picks 2013 Official Oscar Ballot.

Watch the trailer for "Amour" below.

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