The winners of the 74th Cannes Film Festival were revealed tonight at the Closing Ceremony of the festival, which found a split jury, ties for major prizes and the wildest Palme reveal in the history of Cannes.
This year’s festival was headed up by Oscar-winning director Spike Lee, whose film BlacKkKlansman won the Jury Prize in 2018, and a truly diverse jury that included actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Song Kang-ho and Tahar Rahim; directors Mati Diop, Jessica Hausner and Kleber Mendonça Filho; and singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer.
Lee started the festivities off with a bang when he was asked to reveal the first prize of the evening and inadvertently blurted out that Titane had won the Palme d’Or. “The film that won the Palme is Titane…” he said. As the Cannes Best Picture award, the Palme d’Or is normally the last award of the evening but not this year. Even when it came time to officially announce the Palme winner, Lee almost announced the winner once again, ahead of the introduction of presenter Sharon Stone. Then, in a moment that mirrored the famous La La Land/Moonlight Oscar moment, Lee handed the paper with the winner’s name on it for her announce, which she did. “This ceremony is perfect because it’s not perfect. It has heart,” said Ducournau in her tearful speech. The historic win for director Julia Ducournau makes her the first millennial director to win (third millennial winner overall after Adèle Exarchopoulos & Léa Seydoux). She is also the first female director to win the top Cannes award since Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993 and only the second ever in the 74 years of the festival.
Jury member Mélanie Laurent reacts to jury president Spike Lee announcing the Palme winner first
At the press conference after the ceremony, Lee said, “I have no excuses. I messed up. I’m a big sports fan. It’s like the guy at the end of the game in the foul line, he misses the free throw, or a guy misses a kick. So no apologies… I was very specific to speak to the people of Cannes and tell them that I apologize. They said forget about it.”
Neon, which is distributing Titane, is only the fourth US distributor in the last 40 years to have two Palme winners in a row, after IFC Films (Dheepan and I, Daniel Blake), Sony Pictures Classics (The Class and The White Ribbon), and Miramax (Farewell My Concubine and The Piano, Pulp Fiction). Because of the pandemic and there being no festival in 2020, the last Palme winner was Parasite, which went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture, the first non-English language film to do so. It’s worth noting that Neon had picked up both films ahead of their festival debuts.
Ties showed up in two major categories, showing a very split jury this year. For the Grand Prize (a default 2nd place), the award was shared by A Hero by Asghar Farhadi and Compartment No. 6 by Juho Kuosmanen. The Jury Prize went to Ahed’s Knee by Nadav Lapid and Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
American actor Caleb Landry Jones won Best Actor for Justin Kurzel’s Nitram, for his portrayal of Port Arthur shooter Martin Bryant, who killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania. Renate Reinsve was named Best Actress for Joachim Trier’s dark romantic comedy The Worst Person in the World.
Filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino presented a special Palme honor to director/writer/actor Marco Bellocchio.
The Un Certain Regard winners included Kira Kovalenko taking the Grand Prize for Unclenching the Fists, which was sold to MUBI for exclusive North America and U.K. rights and Vladimir Johannsson won the Prize of Originality for his Noomi Rapace-starrer Lamb, which is set for release in the U.S. by A24.
The FIPRESCI prizes, awarded by International Federation of Film Critics, went to Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car (Competition), Laura Wandel’s Playground (Un Certain Regard) and Omar El Zohairy’s Feathers (Critics’ Week/Directors’ Fortnight). Wandel was also the Camera d’Or winner, a prize awarded to a director’s first film.
The Cannes Soundtrack Awards were awarded this year to Rone for the original music of the film Les Olympiades directed by Jacques Audiard, and Ron Mael and Russell Mael aka Sparks for the original music of the film Annette directed by Leos Carax.
Here are the winners for this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Titane by Julia Ducournau
GRAND PRIZE OF THE JURY (tie)
A Hero by Asghar Farhadi and Compartment No. 6 by Juho Kuosmanen
JURY PRIZE (tie)
Ahed’s Knee by Nadav Lapid and Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Caleb Landry Jones for Nitram
Renate Reinsve for The Worst Person in the World
Leos Carax for Annette
Drive My Car by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe
Murina (Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic) – Directors’ Fortnight
Un Certain Regard Prizes
This year’s Un Certain Regard jury was headed up by Andrea Arnold, who had her documentary Cow play out of competition in the new Cannes Premieres section, which also included Franco-Algerian director Mounia Meddour, Cesar-winning French actress Elsa Zyblerstein, Argentine filmmaker Daniel Burman and Michael Covino, whose comedy-drama The Climb (which he wrote, produced and starred in), won the Un Certain Regard Heart prize in 2019.
Said Arnold, “In our discussions, the two things we were constantly saying were: ‘this film is very brave’ and ‘this film come from the heart.’ Many of the films are very passionate and many of the films are talking about things which are hard to talk about. We’d like to acknowledge all the filmmakers for their brave and beautiful work. Their films created vigorous debates.”
The jury did not award an individual acting prize this year but instead an ensemble award to the cast of Bonne Mere from Hafsia Herzi. Kira Kovalenko won the Grand Prize for Unclenching the Fists and in an interesting turn, her partner Kantemir Balagov won Best Director for Beanpole at UCR in 2019.
Unclenching the Fists, Kira Kovalenko
Great Freedom, Sebastian Meise
Bonne Mere, Hafsia Herzi
Prize of Courage
La Civil, Teodora Ana Mihai
Prize of Originality
Lamb, Vladimir Johannsson
Noche De Fuego (Prayers for the Stolen), Tatiana Huezo
Winners for Critics’ Week, Directors’ Fortnight and Cinéfondation sections:
Writer-director Jonas Carpignano won the Europa Cinemas Cannes Label award for best European film at Directors’ Fortnight section of the Cannes with his film A Chiara. Directors’ Fortnight is the festival’s largest independent parallel section. This is Carpignano’s second win here; he took the same prize in 2017 for his previous film, A Ciambra, which was exec produced by Martin Scorsese.
Also winning a prize at this year’s Directors’ Fortnight was Vincent Maël Cardona for this feature debut Magnetic Beats (Les Magnétiques), which won the section’s SACD Prize and was awarded by France’s Writers’ Guild. Cardona’s short, Anywhere Out of the World, was featured in the 2010’s Cannes Cinéfondation student short competition.
The Semaine de la Critique (aka Critics’ Week) Nespresso Grand Prize winner went to Omar El Zohairy’s Feathers. The Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award went to Sandra Melissa Torres for her performance in Simón Mesa Soto’s Amparo.
Zero Fucks Given, from directors Emmanuel Marre and Julie Lecoustre, won the Gan Foundation Award for distribution. The award was given to the distribution company Condor.
The Cinéfondation winners were:
L’ENFANT SALAMANDRE (The Salamander Child) directed by Théo Degen (INSAS, Belgium)
CICADA directed by Yoon Daewoen (Korea National University of Arts, South Korea)
Joint Third Prize
PRIN ORAS CIRCULA SCURTE POVESTI DE DRAGOSTE (Love Stories on the Move) directed by Carina-Gabriela Dașoveanu (UNATC “I. L. CARAGIALE”, Romania)
CANTAREIRA directed by Rodrigo Ribeyro (Academia Internacional de Cinema, Brazil)
International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Prizes
Drive My Car (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Playground (Laura Wandel)
CRITICS’ WEEK/DIRECTOR’S FORTNIGHT
Feathers (Omar El Zohairy)
Courts Métrages / Short Films
Tian Xia Wu Ya (Tous les Corbeaux du Monde / All the Crows in the World) réalisé par/directed by TANG Yi
Mention Spéciale I Special Mention
Céu De Agosto (Le Ciel du Mois d’Août / August Sky) réalisé par/directed by Jasmin TENUCCI