"I like the light that passes through shutters, the sound that feet make when you step in fresh snow." Audrey Tautou (pronounced TOE-two) ticked off a few such favorite things in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY last year, just as her waitress character beguiled audiences with a similar set of quirky likes (and dislikes) in the Oscar-nominated Amélie
. "When she smiles, it's charm, charm, charm!" says actress Leslie Caron, another celebrated French gamine. After an acting course at age 17 cooled her passion for primatology (as a teen, she'd begged her parents for a pet monkey), Tautou, 23, drew critical raves in 1999's Venus Beauty Institute
—and the film's poster caught Amélia
director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's eye. "She is like an elf in a fairy tale," he said recently. "Big ears and big eyes. She's special." The 5'3" Tautou, who lives alone in Paris and playfully told a USA Today reporter last year that she has "tons" of boyfriends, plays down the compliments, especially comparisons to the other Audrey (Hepburn). "It makes me smile," she has said. "But it's a bit excessive, no?"