85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva plays a cultivated, retired music teacher Anne who gets an attack one day in Best Picture nominated Amour.
Veteran French actress Emmanuelle Riva, 85, the oldest ever Academy award nominee for her role in Michael Haneke's Amour, says it would be great to win the best actress Oscar at this stage of her life.
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) or Jennifer Lawrence(Silver Linings Playbook) have been winning most of the pre-Oscar awards this season but Riva, who turns 86 on February 24, is a strong contender in the category with her poignant portrayal of an elderly woman who wishes to die in Amour.
The other nominees in the category are Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Naomi Watts in (The Impossible).
Recalling the day she was nominated, Riva told Hollywood Reporter: "Everybody around me was so excited and they were dancing and yelling, and I am just calm about this. I think that it's a wonderful thing to be nominated, and if it happens that will be great. It will be a great surprise for me. But if I don't win then that's the way it's going to be.
"But now, if I do win, it would be a very nice thing and I'll be just like a little girl, completely surprised and completely thrilled!"
If she wins the Oscar, Riva will break Christopher Plummer's record of the eldest Oscar winner. The actor won the trophy at the age of 82 for his supporting act in Beginners.
Riva said that the role of Anne came to her as "a most unexpected and pleasant surprise".
"... roles for older women in cinema are not that numerous. And when you're 84 years old? It's not very often that you find a role that matches you. I felt that since I am really in the last stage of my life, this was a tremendous gift that was given to me," Riva said.