UPDATE, 12:30 PM PT: Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, a drama about a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and works as a caretaker outside Paris, scooped the Palme d’Or this evening. The win for Audiard, an acclaimed French filmmaker who has previously taken the Grand Prize for 2009’s A Prophet and the Screenplay honor for 1996’s Un Héro Très Discret, was nevertheless a bit of a surprise. In his acceptance, sans trademark porkpie hat, the helmer thanked his screenwriters Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré as well as two-time Palme d’Or winner Michael Haneke “for not having shot a film this year.” (Audiard won the Grand Prize in 2009 for A Prophet while Haneke’s White Ribbon was named Palme d’Or.) This win, for Audiard is “exceptional” because it comes from jury presidents Joel and Ethan Coen.
Holocaust drama Son Of Saul was expected to be honored here and indeed ended up with the Grand Prize. Hungarian first-time filmmaker Laszlo Nemes, a Deadline Director to Watch, spent a large part of his adolescence in Paris and thanked the jury in French. This is the same prize that has recently gone to none other than the Coen brothers for 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis and Audiard’s A Prophet.
Rooney Mara shared the Best Actress prize with Emmanuelle Bercot for their respective turns in Carol and Mon Roi. Mara was not in attendance so her Carol helmer Todd Haynes took the stage in her absence explaining the actress was in New York and saying he was a “very lucky director” to have had the privilege of working with both Mara and co-star Cate Blanchett. An emotional Bercot, who also had the distinction of opening the festival with her directorial effort Standing Tall, thanked Cannes Fest chief Thierry Frémaux for “the craziest week of my life.”
Among the most emotional moments of the evening was a Best Actor win for France’s Vincent Lindon. He took the prize for Stéphane Brizé’s social drama The Measure Of A Man in what was a roundly lauded turn. Ascending the steps at the Lumière, Lindon made a bee-line for the jury in order to personally thank each of them. Once at the podium, a teary Lindon said, “This is the first time I’ve received a prize in my life.”
The Best Screenplay prize went to Michel Franco for Chronic starring Tim Roth, a movie that was borne out of an earlier Cannes rencontre, as my colleague Pete Hammond recently outlined.
The awards ceremony was marked by a handful of emotional moments along with terrific musical numbers (unusual for Cannes, but perhaps emblematic of the org’s new president, Pierre Lescure, who is a collector of 1950s bakelite radios). John C. Reilly, arguably the busiest actor in Cannes with three Official Selection titles, sang Just A Gigolo before awarding the Camera d’Or prize for Best Debut Feature to La Tierra Y La Sombra by César Augusto Acevdeo. The dapper actor last week told me he was hoping not to leave Cannes without a new role in a European film. After director Acevedo accepted his prize, master of ceremonies Lambert Wilson led the audience in a rendition of Happy Birthday to Reilly.
Stay tuned for Pete Hammond’s analysis of tonight’s prizes…
PREVIOUS: 9:57 AM PT: The laureates of the 68th edition of the Cannes Film Festival are about to be unveiled inside the Lumière Theater on a balmy evening. If the weather was amongst the most consistent we’ve seen in several years on the Riviera, the main Competition was something of a mixed bag in terms of critical reaction over the last two weeks. However, a growing consensus has seemed to form around Taiwanese veteran Hou Hsiao-hsien’s period action drama The Assassin as well as Todd Haynes’ period lesbian romance Carol. There is also buzz around Laszlo Nemes’ debut feature Son Of Saul, a harrowing new take on the Holocaust drama which won the FIPRESCI prize yesterday. Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister, Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre, Matteo Garrone’s Tale Of Tales and Stéphane Brizé’s Measure Of A Man are among other titles that have their Croisette champions. Still, it’s up to the Joel and Ethan Coen-led jury to reveal their picks which, as we’ve seen before with myriad Cannes juries, could go any way. We’ll be updating the winners as they are announed live below:
Dheepan, dir: Jacques Audiard
Son Of Saul, dir: Laszlo Nemes
Hou Hsiao-hsien, The Assassin
Vincent Lindon, The Measure Of A Man
The Lobster, dir: Yorgos Lanthimos
Rooney Mara, Carol
Emmanuelle Bercot, Mon Roi
Michel Franco, Chronic
La Tierra Y La Sombra, dir: César Augusto Acevdeo
Short Film Palme d’Or
Waves 98, dir: Ely Dagher