Maybe because the cross-dressing men of Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals remind her of the Moulin Rouge, French actress Marion Cotillard looked entirely at ease while being honored Thursday as the troupe’s 2013 Woman of the Year.
And that’s saying something because the Hastys don’t take it easy on the winners of their coveted Pudding Pot, as some previous winners, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway, and Claire Danes, can attest.
Best known for her Oscar-winning portrayal of French chanteuse Edith Piaf in “La Vie En Rose,” Cotillard’s other recent credits include Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone,” Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion.”
A day that started dark and stormy was clear and bright by the time Cotillard and a band of Pudding pranksters climbed into a Bentley convertible for the traditional parade down Mass. Ave.
During the show that preceded the presentation of the Pudding Pot, Cotillard was teased, but not terribly. She was ridiculed, in particular, for some of the movies on her resume, notably “A Good Year,” which Hasty president Renee Rober said “is English for ‘A Bad Movie.’ ”
But the actress, dressed in black pants, boots, and a groovy gray top, easily won the crowd over when, ordered to sing a bit of Piaf from the stage, made the most delicate and enchanting sound.
Talking to reporters afterward, the 37-year-old actress said she has a few favorites among this year’s Oscar nominees.
“I’m totally in love with Jennifer Lawrence,” she said, “and I was very moved by Naomi Watts’s performance (in “The Impossible”), but I haven’t seen the whole of the movies.”
Of her day in Cambridge, which included a healthy lunch of bibb salad, flaky provencal galette, and chocolate torte at UpStairs on the Square, Cotillard said it was entertaining.
“I had no idea what was going to happen,” said the actress, who had never been to Boston before. “And I really didn’t want to investigate and find out what the roast would be like.”