Now that name rings a bell
And so it should. The 85-year-old is making waves in Hollywood after securing nominations for various awards for her role in Michael Haneke's Amour, about an elderly couple coping with dementia. On Saturday night she took the best actress award at the Los Angeles Film Critics' Association Awards. Those with longer memories will recall her stunning performance in the 1959 French film Hiroshima Mon Amour.
So what has she been doing all this time?
Riva continued to work in France to acclaim, but by the 1980s the larger roles had started to dry up. However both she and her Amour co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant appeared in Krzysztof Kieslowski's acclaimed Three Colours trilogy in the 1990s.
What next for Riva? An Oscar?
Could be. Last week she became the oldest nominee for Best Actress in the 2013 Academy Awards. She shares the category with the youngest, nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, as well as Naomi Watts, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence.
Is she enjoying the hoopla?
She said: "I never thought, while working throughout the years in Europe and France, that one day, I would cross the Atlantic Ocean, come to the United States, and be nominated. It is quite surreal for me."