Isabelle Huppert studied Russian at the National Languages and oriental Civilizations Institute whilst taking dramatic art classes at the School of la rue Blanche and the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art. She was the student of preeminent teachers Jean-Laurent Cochet and Antoine Vitez.
She received attention for her earliest film appearances in movies such as Les Valseuses by Bertrand Blier, Aloise by Liliane de Kermadec and Le Juge et l'Assassin by Bertrand Tavernier. For her performance in La Lentellière by Claude Goretta, she received the Best Hope Award from the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA). Her collaborative efforts with Claude Chabrol have enabled her to perform outstandingly across a number of film dramas, such as; comedy (Rien ne va plus), drama (Une affaire de femmes), and film noir (Merci pour le chocolat). Her deftness and deep understanding of acting have also enabled her to give life to roles in literary adaptations (Madame Bovary) and political fictions (L'Ivresse du pouvoir). She has received several awards for her performances under the direction of Claude Chabrol: the Interpretive Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Violette Nozière, the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival for Une affaire de femmes, and at the Moscow Festival for Madame Bovary, as well as receiving the Interpretive Award and the César for Best Actress at Venice for her part in La Cérémonie.
She has worked with many high-profile directors and artists domestically such as Jean-Luc Godard, André Téchiné, Maurice Pialat, Patrice Chéreau, Michael Haneke, Raoul Ruiz, Benoit Jacquot, Jacques Doillon, Christian Vincent, Laurence Ferreira Barbosa, Olivier Assayas, Francois Ozon/Anne Fontaine Ionesco, Joachim Lafosse, Serge Bozon/Catherine Breillat, Guillaume Nicloux, and Samuel Benchetrit. Isabelle Huppert has also worked with major international directors such as Michael Cimino, Joseph Losey, Otto Preminger, the Taviani brothers, Marco Ferreri, Hal Hartley, David O'Russell, Werner Schroeter and Andrzej Wajda – as well as Rithy Panh, Brillante Mendoza, Joachim Sort and Hong Sang Soo.
The Venice Film Festival awarded her a Special Golden Lion of the Jury which recognized her entire career as well as her performance in Patrice Chéreau’s Gabriell.
She has also twice been awarded the prestigious Interpretive Award at the Cannes Film Festival (the second time for La Pianiste by Michael Hanake). Her involvement at Cannes has also seen her fulfill the role of juror and ceremonial mistress, and for the 62nd edition of the festival she was president of the jury.
In addition to cinema Isabelle Huppert has had a distinguished career in theatre, both in France and internationally. She plays under the direction of Bob Wilson (Orlando by Virginia Woolf/Quartett by Heiner Muller), Peter Zadek (Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare), Claude Régy, (4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane, Jeanne au bucher by Claudel). She also interprets Médée d'Euripide directed by Jacques Lassalle, notably at the Festival d'Avignon; Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen directed by Eric Lacascade, and A Tramway based on Tennessee Williams’ work, directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski at the Théâtre de l'Odéon, which went on to have a successful European and World Tour. Other notable works include The Maids by Jean Genet, directed by Benedict Andrews, in which she appeared alongside Cate Blanchett at the Sydney Theatre Company and the New York City Centre as part of the Lincoln Center Festival; Les Fausses Condidences de Marivaux, directed by Luc Bondy, at the Théâtre de l'Odéon which again went on to have a successful European tour. This season, she has performed Phaedra(s) by Wajdi Mouawad, Sarah Kane and J.M. Coetzee, directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, on a European and international tour.
In cinema, several of her films have recently been released, L’avenir by Mia Hansen Love, Tout de suite maintenant by Pascal Bonitzer and Elle by Paul Verhoeven (presented at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival), Souvenir by Bavo Devurne. In 2017 her fourth film with Michaël Haneke, Happy End, will be released, along with a project directed by Serge Bozon called Madame Hyde. She recently received several awards in the United States including the Gotham Award and the Golden Globe for Elle, a role which as lead her to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar.
Isabelle Huppert is an Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, an Officer of the National Order of Merit and a Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters.