- Audrey Tautou, The Da Vinci Code, 2005.
- Elsa Zylberstein, Le concile de pierre (The Stone Council), France-Italy-Germany, 2006. A return to her Une affaire privee director Guillaume Nicloux had been part of a four-movie marathon before shooting her international breakthrough: La môme. She settled for three.
- Cécile De France, L’instinct de mort, France-Canada-Italy, 2008. No shortage of French actresses for Jeanne Schneider: lover of gangster Jacques Mesrine,something of a 1959-1979 French Dillinger: bank robber, kidnapper, killer (39 victims,at least), who preferred to see himself, bien sur, as an anarchist.
- Kate Winslet, The Reader, 2008. Kate was always director Stephen Daldry’s first choice for Hanna Schmitz.However, she was delayed on Revolutionary Road, and Nicole Kidman was still making Australia and then proved pregnant. Daldry then considered Kidman pal Naomi Watts, Juliette Binoche (The English Patient Oscar-winner) and thenew French rave, already well used to hours of old-age make-up in her Oscar-winning La Môme, 2007. Finally, Kate was free and this time she got the 2008 Oscar.
- Judi Dench, Nine, 2009.
- Nicole Kidman, Nine, 2009
- Cate Blanchett, Robin Hood, 2009. When Sienna Miller quit as the maid, er widow Marion (sic), director Ridley Scott and his (bulky) Robin, Russell Crowe, rushed to their partner in A Good Year, 2006.
- Noomi Rapace, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shows, 2010. Director Guy Ritchiesaw Spanish Penelope Cruz and all the usual French girlsfor Sim - Juliette Binoche, Cécile de France, Eva Green, Virginie Ledoyen, Sophie Marceau, Audrey Tautou. And signed a Swede... the star of theMillennium trilogy.
- Uma Thurman, Bel Ami, 2011. Her schedule ruled out being Madeleine Forestier opposite with Robert Pattinson in the latest version Guy de Maupassant’s 1885 novel of social ambition.
- Juliette Binoche, Cosmopolis, 2011. Lost Pattinson again - pregnant with her and Guillaume Canet’s son, Marcel. Director David Croneneberg next looked at Keira Knightley and Noomi Rapace. They were busy and one French Oscar-winner succeeded another.
- Sandra Bullock, Gravity, 2012. Natalie Portman was #1 choice after Angelina Jolie wanted $20m to be Ryan, lone survivor of a space mission to repair the Hubble telescope - trying to to return to Earth and her daughter. But Natalie was pregnant. Enter: Marion. Pregnant, too. Rebecca Hall, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johannsson, Blake Lively, Sienna Miller, Carey Mulligan, Natalie Portman, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Wilde all fought for the role… Because the female astronaut is alone on-screen for most of the movie. (Sorry about that, George Clooney).
- Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables, 2012. The genuinely French La Cotillard was among the potential Fantines. But if everyone else had UK accents… Also seen: Amy Adams, Jessica Biel, Emily Blunt, Rebecca Hall, Kate Winslet - until Hathaway’s audition had everyone in tears...
- Bérénice Bejo, Le passé, France-Italy-Iran, 2012. Being about the busist actress on the planet that year, Cotillard lost Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s film in favour of The Immigrant, by her US pal, James Gray. Both films unfurled at the 2013 Cannes festival where the best actress award went to… Bejo!
- Lea Seydoux, Le journal d'une femme de chambre, France, 2014. Takes a brave realisateur to re-make a film previously made by Jean Renoir and by Luis Buñuel. Benoit Jacquot’s take on the Octave Mirbeau book had a sudden change of Celestine, the scheming chambermaid, when the new queen-bee of French cinema, Cotillard, fell out - needing a break after her Cannes entry, Deux jours, une nuit and milady Macbeth, no less! Her hottest rival, Seydoux, filled in. Renoir chose Paulette Goddard in 1945; Buñuel had a more memorable Jeanne Moreau in 1963.
- Charlotte Gainsbourg, 3 cœurs (Three Hearts), France-Germany-Belgium, 2014. We’ve been here before. In the 2010 US mumblecore, Your Sister’s Sister: Jack Duplass stuck between sisters Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt. The Gallic version was Vincent Lindon caught between Cotillard and Léa Seydoux before becoming Benoit Poelvoorde and sisters Chiara Mastroianni (well, her mum, Catherine Deneuve is their mother) and Charlotte Gainsbourg - who looks so miserable in her movies that I suspect her pay-cheques never arrive.