From Cannes avec Amour

27 May

Austrian director Michael Haneke holds the coveted Golden Palm award at the closing ceremonies of the 65th Cannes Film Festival.

Here are the winners of the just concluded Cannes Film Festival:

  • Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) –  Amour, directed by Austrian Michael Haneke, whose beautifully rendered The White Ribbon won the same award at Cannes in 2009; the film subsequently garnered Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography (black and white, actually) and Best Foreign Language film. It lost the former to Avatar and the latter to Argentina’s The Secret in Their Eyes.

Trivia: what is the only movie to win the top prize at Cannes as well as the Oscar for Best Picture? Answer: 1955’s Marty, which also won the Best Actor Oscar for Ernest Borgnine. Last year’s Golden Palm winner, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life eeked out three Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, ultimately going home empty-handed.

  • Best Actress – Shared between two actresses playing nuns in the Rumanian film, Beyond the Hills: Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur

Trivia: the last actress to win at Cannes and at the Oscars is Holly Hunter for 1993’s The Piano, which also tied for the Golden Palm with Farewell My Concubine. Shared acting awards are not new to Cannes. In 2006, Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Chus Lampreave, Blanca Portillo, and Yohana Cobo collectively won Best Actress for their performances in Pedro Almodóvar’s tantalizing Volver; Cruz was later Oscar nominated.  Another notable shared Best Actress prize is the one claimed by Barbara Hershey, Jodhi May, and Linda Mvusi for 1988’s A World Apart; May was all of thirteen at the time.  This is also an noteworthy win as it made Hershey the only actor/actress to win back-to-back honors at Cannes. In 1987, she was singled out for her work in Shy People. The latter was a dreary pic about Cajuns. but the former, set during apartheid in South Africa, was one of 1988’s most acclaimed films though you would never know that by looking through that year’s list of Oscar nominees. (PS: Beyond the Hills also earned screenwriting honors for director Chris Mungiu.)

  • Best Actor – Mads Mikkelson for the Danish offering, The Hunt

Of course, the most recent Oscar winner for Best Actor, Jean Dujardin (The Artist), took last year’s Cannes prize as well; however, Dujardin starred in a a bittersweet comedy about Hollywood that was easy to market to Academy members, so much so that it also took Best Picture and a passel of other prizes.  Don’t look for a repeat at next year’s Oscars since Mikkelson’s film is reportedly about an innocent man undone by charges of pedophilia.

  • Best Director – Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebras Lux (from Mexico)

Trivia: the first, and I believe only, film to win the Golden Palm, Best Director, and an acting prize at Cannes was 1991’s Barton Fink from Amerians Joel and Ethan Coen, starring John Turturro as the title character. At Oscar time, Turturro and the Coens were out though the movie received a smattering of nominations, including Best Supporting Actor (Michael Lerner).

  • Grand Prix (aka second place) – Reality, directed by Italy’s Matteo Garrone
  • Special Jury Prize –  Ken Loach’s The Angels Share

75 year old Loach, from England, is a frequent Cannes honoree, most recently for 2006’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

Okay, that’s a wrap.

Thanks for your consideration…

Coverage of Cannes in the Wall Street Journal:


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