This Startling Clip From Elle Proves Why Isabelle Huppert Is an Oscar Contender

This year’s potential Best Actress lineup is already bustling, but after watching Isabelle Huppert’s astonishing work in Elle, it’ll be hard not to root for the never-nominated French icon to make it into the final five. In this Paul Verhoeven–directed dramatic thriller, Huppert plays Michèle, a successful video-game baron who is raped in the film’s startling first scene. The matter-of-fact way Michèle handles this assault leaves her friends gobsmacked, as you’ll see in the exclusive clip below, but Michèle is a complicated woman whose calm hauteur hides plenty, even as her demeanor leaves others reliably rattled. Elle is a high-wire act that’s simply inconceivable without Huppert’s steadiness. While Verhoeven has never been afraid to push the envelope — this is the man who directed Robocop and Showgirls, after all — Huppert keeps the film grounded through every provocative new move as she cannily underplays Verhoeven’s black humor. You’ll get a taste of all that in this scene from the film, which debuts in limited release this Friday.

Watch Isabelle Huppert in a Startling Elle Clip