Quel âne. Marion Cotillard has come under entirely predictable criticism for her moronic claim that the attacks of September 2001 might have been a conspiracy by property developers who couldn't be bothered to repair the cabling on the Twin Towers. The Oscar-winning French actress should have tried contrition, a dash of naivete, with the breathless delivery that won over the audience during last weekend's Academy Awards telecast. Instead: petulance about as charming as France's enduring resentment of those countries that liberated them twice in the last century.

Bastien Duval, the actress' agent, told the Times of London: "She doesn't have to apologise for a badly presented and badly interpreted reportage." That's particularly absurd, because neither Cotillard nor her reps have denied the substance of the quotes, and they are sufficiently long and complete to make them hard to take out of context.

Cotillard's rep also hinted, amazingly, that yet another conspiracy might be involved. "She is in an ocean of happiness and voila, this row blows up. It's rather strange. It's an old report, not at all current. Why bring it out now?" (Must be the Jews. Or maybe that English witch, Julie Christie, who'd so wanted the Best Actress award, which Cotillard took for her role in La Vie En Rose.)

And the best line of all, a mixture of condescension to those Americans still emotional about the destruction of the Twin Towers, and arrogance about demand elsewhere for Cotillard's acting talents. "She hopes that the Americans will have enough distance to understand, but her career is not just American. She can make films everywhere." That's fortunate because, at the rate her Oscars glow is fading, Cotillard will be hard to employ in the US.