Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard, who was named ‘International Actor of the Year’ at Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards on Wednesday night, graces the cover of their December 2012 issue dressed in Dior and dazzling Tiffany & Co. jewels.

In the rest of her editorial Ben Hassett captured the beauty wearing luxurious gowns by Alexis Mabille, Marchesa and Armani Prive.

Marion talks to Harper’s Bazaar about motherhood, the importance of family and her love of British culture, in particular the series ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and British rock. She also talks about her new movie ’Rust And Bone’ in which she plays the gritty role of a whale trainer, Stéphanie, who loses her legs in an accident and must battle to embrace love, life and sex.

The December issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which is on sale now and also available as a digital edition, is also dedicated to the winners of the Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards, which were held in London earlier this week in association with Estée Lauder, Harrods and Tiffany & Co.

Here are some extracts from Marion’s interview.

On her love of British culture: “I think of England as music with fashion. You mix rock ‘n’ roll with everything, from royalty to punk to the bourgeoisie. Music-wise, you’re the best. David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Radiohead, the Beatles….”

On her highlight of 2012: “The return of Absolutely Fabulous. I’m a huge fan.”

On preparing for the role of Stéphanie in her new film, ‘Rust And Bone’: “Well, I mean, I love my job, but I’m not going to cut my legs off. Stéphanie loses her legs. It’s a shock. If she’d been without them for years, I would have worked differently. But I had to learn with her how it felt – that loss. How it changes her.”

On the challenge of acting: “[Being an actor is] like you’re this tightrope walker. Even if you know how to do it, you never know if you’re going to make it to the other side.”

On being a mother to 18-month-old Marcel, her son with French director, writer and actor Guillaume Canet: “Since having Marcel, every day of my life has been alight with him.”

On what’s next for the actress: “I don’t know what’s next because I don’t want to know.”

On finding happiness: “One of the things I have learned recently is that I have the ability to be happy. I have found that in my family. And that is a new thing. And that hasn’t always been the case for me – so I know how lucky I am.”

Credit: Ben Hassett, Courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar