Day 12 & the winners of the Cannes Film Festival 2011 are…

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Argh! It’s all come to an end. And the winners of the 64th Cannes Film Festival, as selected by jury president Robert de Niro and his jury (which included Uma Thurman and Jude Law) are:

BEST FILM (PALME D’OR)

Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’ starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, which caused the most controversy (earning some loud boos) in the Film Festival until Lars von Trier was banished. The film tells the tale of three brothers in 1950’s America (but a lot more than just that!).

Malick wasn’t in Cannes for the awards ceremony tonight (nor for the press conference last week) because he’s “extremely shy”. So two of his producers collected the award from actress Jane Fonda instead. Bill Pohlad said:

“I have always wanted to speak French, and tonight more than ever. Tonight I have to take the place of a giant. Terrence Malick is very shy and discreet. But I spoke to him today and I know he is very happy to receive this honour. The Tree Of Life was a long journey, but it was all worth it. I would like to thank especially the Festival de Cannes.”

'Tree of Life' - Palm d'Or, Cannes Film Festival
‘Tree of Life’ – Palm d’Or, Cannes Film Festival

Best Actress:

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’

When receiving her prize, 29-year-old Kirsten said “What a week!”, referring to her director being banished  after his insensitive Hitler jokes in a press conference. She added: “My thanks to the Jury, this is a real honour. I’m grateful to the Festival for keeping the film in Competition. And I’m grateful to Lars Von Trier for letting me play the role with such freedom.”

Best Actor:

The scrumptious French actor Jean Dujardin won for his performance in ‘The Artist’ (in which he doesn’t look as scrummy). In ‘The Artist’ Jean plays a Hollywood silent movie star, whose careers starts to fade when talking pictures become the thing.

Jean knelt before the Jury before being handed the prize by legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve, and said:

“I share this award with Bérénice Béjo, my partner in the film. Thank you for kindness, your generosity and your pizzazz”.

He also thanked cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman and director Michel Hazavanicius, with whom he has made three films: “This guy has so much talent it’s crazy”.

Best Director:

Nicolas Winding Refn for ‘Drive’. This makes me so excited for him because he and the star of his movie – Ryan Gosling – truly bonded in the making of this film. And it was that bond that ‘drove’ me to see the film, a story I wouldn’t normally care for (a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver).

He received the award from French actress and director Nicole Garcia (weirdly, a French press photographer asked me for permission today to take photos of me because he said I resembled her. Hmmm.)

Anyway, in his award speech, Nicolas said:

“It is an immense honour to receive this award because film is a director’s means of expression. Thanks to Thierry Frémaux, thanks to the Jury for its good taste, thanks to my mother who always told me I was a genius!…thanks to Ryan Gosling who enabled me to make this film and finally, thanks to my wife.”

The Jury Prize:

The Jury Prix was awarded to Polisse, by Maïwenn (who, being French, showed the most emotion on the red carpet last week when her film was screened – tripping, laughing and sobbing as she made her way up the stairs).

She was presented with her award by ‘The Beloved’ actress Chiara Mastroianni, and said:

“My daughter told me I would not be able to go up to accept an award without crying. I would like to thank Thierrey Frémaux for having selected Polisse, but also the people from the Café de la Gare, who supported me seven years ago. I would finally like to thank the whole cast and crew of Polisse, without whose support nothing would have been possible, and the Brigade for the Protection of Minors, who allowed me to observe the suffering of humanity”.

Grand Prix:

This year’s Grand Prix went to two directors: Nuri Bilge Ceylan for ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’ and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for ‘Le Gamin au vélo (The Kid With a Bike)’.

Best Screenplay:

Joseph Cedar for ‘Footnote’