UPDATED: After being snubbed by the Academy in 2015 when his lauded (and Un Certain Regard-winning) Force Majeure did not make the nominees list in the Foreign Language Oscar category, Ruben Ostlund just walked away with the Cannes Film Festival’s highest honor. His The Square, an art world satire that stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West, won this year’s Palme d’Or here tonight.
When Ostlund did not get an Oscar nomination in 2015, he good-naturedly released a video that included what he called a “worst man cry.” Tonight, he took a different tack as he rejoiced in his Cannes win. He asked the photographers in the pit below the stage in the Lumière Theater to turn their cameras on the audience and led all attendees in a primal scream “of happiness.” He said, “I can direct you now, after all I won the Palme d’Or.”
Other laureates tonight included Diane Kruger as Best Actress for her first German-language turn in Fatih Akin’s In the Fade, a timely story of the aftermath of a terrorist bombing. The actress, who works largely in French and American cinema, gave a shout-out to those affected by terrorism, particularly the folks left behind. To those “who have to go on living” after losing someone, she said, “please know you are not forgotten.”
Joaquin Phoenix was named Best Actor for You Were Never Really Here, and appeared genuinely shocked. He sported Converse sneakers, apologizing that his proper shoes already had been sent home. The Amazon Studios title also won Best Screenplay for writer-director Lynne Ramsay, who shared that nod in a tie with Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
In a further through-line, Sacred Deer‘s Nicole Kidman (a ubiquitous presence in Cannes this year) was awarded a special 70th anniversary award. She sent a video message from Nashville saying she was “devastated” to not be in Cannes tonight. Said Kidman, who starred in four titles on the Riviera: “Last week was like a dream. This is a lovely way to come back to the dream.”
Among her thanks was Sofia Coppola, in whose Competition title The Beguiled Kidman starred. Coppola, also absent from the Palais this evening, was named Best Director for the film. She sent a message honoring, among others, her mother and father. This is the second time in the festival’s history that a woman has won this prize, following Yuliya Solntseva for The Story of the Flaming Years back in 1961.
In other big wins, Andrey Zvyagintsev’ Loveless, which Sony Pictures Classics acquired early on in the festival (after their collaboration on Oscar nominee Leviathan), won the Jury Prize. And, Robin Campillo’s AIDS activist drama 120 Beats Per Minute picked up the Grand Prize.
Check back for a deeper analysis by Pete Hammond later today, and for Anthony D’Alessandro’s report from the jury press conference.
PREVIOUS: To the strains of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run,” Cannes Film Festival jury member Jessica Chastain told local press on her way into the Palais tonight, “We saw beautiful films; it was a difficult choice.” We’ll know shortly what made the cut for the panel led by Pedro Almodovar as the prizes, including the Palme d’Or, are about to be handed out.
Over 12 days, 19 movies screened in Competition in this 70th edition of the venerable event. There has been critical love for such titles as Andrey Zvyagintsev’ Loveless, Fatih Akin’s In The Fade, Robin Campillo’s 120 Beats Per Minute, Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, among others. This year was particularly marked by the inclusion of two Netflix movies in Competition: Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories. Almodovar noted early on that he’d have trouble conceiving that a film that would win a Palme d’Or would not be shown in cinemas — as is Netflix’s model — so it will be interesting to see if those praised works pick up some gold on the Croisette this evening. Winners are being updated below as they are announced:
The Square, dir: Ruben Ostlund
Special 70th Anniversary Prize
120 Beats Per Minute, dir: Robin Campillo
Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled
Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here
Diane Kruger, In The Fade
Loveless, dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Lynne Ramsay, You Were Never Really Here
Short Film Palme d’Or
A Gentle Night, dir: Qui Yang
Special Mention: The Ceiling, dir: Teppo Airaksinen
Jeune Femme, dir: Leonor Serraille