Golden Globes 2017: Isabelle Huppert Wins Best Actress in Surprise Win Over Natalie Portman

Elle star Isabelle Huppert won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama category at the 2017 Golden Globes on Sunday, January 8, beating out some stiff competition for one the night’s biggest surprise wins. Watch her touching acceptance speech above!

Huppert, 63, stars in Elle, a film about a successful businesswoman, Michèle Leblanc, who gets caught up in a daring game of cat and mouse as she tries to track down the man who raped her.

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“Thank you for letting me be what I am,” she said during her emotional speech, referring to film director Paul Verhoeven. Though Huppert is much-beloved within the international film community and in her home country of France, she is not as well known in the States as some of her fellow nominees — The Arrival’s Amy Adams, Jackie’s Natalie Portman, Loving’s Ruth Negga and Miss Sloane’s Jessica Chastain. (Portman was favored to win.)

Isabelle Huppert Golden Globes
Isabelle Huppert accepts the award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama for her role in ‘Elle’ during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 8, 2017, in Beverly Hills. Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

This was Huppert’s first Golden Globe nomination and win. The actress has previously starred in such films as Things to Come, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them and the 2012 film Amour.

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In a recent interview with New York magazine’s Vulture blog, the actress spoke about what drew her to the multitude of characters she has portrayed on screen over the years.

Natalie Portman Golden Globes
Natalie Portman attend the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 8, 2017, in Beverly Hills. Venturelli/WireImage.com

“They react to what happens,” she said of the strong women she plays, “and sometimes you expect them to collapse, but they do not. Maybe I am speaking about myself: I have never known what I was going to do the day before I do it. I have never known what will happen.”

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Huppert continued: “Life is never predictable, and these women react out of curiosity and surprise because that’s what you do. Only fiction gives one the feeling that you know what is next. Only fiction says you are going to be happy all the time.” 

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