PARIS — France’s film industry gave its coveted Cesar award for best actress to Oscar hopeful Marion Cotillard tonight for her portrayal of French songstress Edith Piaf.
The award could be the start of a winning streak for Cotillard, who is nominated in the best actress category for Sunday’s Academy Awards for her performance in ‘‘La Vie en Rose.’’
Cotillard was a favorite in the annual Cesar competition, comparable to the Oscars, after critics agreed that she captured the soul of France’s queen of song in the film.
A teary-eyed Cotillard profusely thanked director Olivier Dahan, who had been nominated for best director.
‘‘Olivier, you have changed my life as an actress, you simply changed my life. You have written the most beautiful role in the world,’’ she said.
The award for best movie went to ‘‘La Graine et Le Mulet’’ (The Secret of the Grain), which centers on a Tunisian immigrant family in the southern French town of Sete. It took four Cesars, including a best director award for Abdellatif Kechiche.
He repeated a a 2005 winning streak for his film ‘‘L’Esquive’’ (Games of Love and Chance), which won four Cesars.
The best actor Cesar went to Mathieu Amalric for ‘‘Le Scaphandre et le Papillon’’ (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). He plays a French magazine editor whose stroke leaves him paralyzed in the adaptation of Jean Dominique Bauby’s memoir.
The Cesar for best foreign film went to ‘‘The Lives of Others’’ by German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the story of a Stasi secret service officer in former East Germany with conflicting loyalties. The film won a best foreign language Oscar last year.
‘‘Persepolis,’’ the animated movie by Iranian-born Marjane Satrapi was named best first film.