By Alex Ritman, Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter July 17, 2021 10:29am
The 74th Cannes Film Festival kicked off July 6, two months
later than usual, amid safety concerns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last year’s festival was
canceled because of COVID-19.
Julia Ducournaubecomes only the second
female director to claim Cannes' top prize, but the ceremony was (comically) overshadowed by jury
presidentSpike Leeaccidentally revealing the winner at the start of the night.
Chaos reigned at the awards ceremony for the 2021 Cannes International Film Festival after jury
president Spike Lee accidentally announced
the winner of the Palme d’Or — Julia Ducournau’s wildly extreme fantasy drama Titane — right at the start of the night.
The master of ceremonies attempted to laugh off the slip-up and forget
that it had happened, but with Cannes’ top prize having been revealed prematurely it set a comically
awkward tone over the rest of the proceedings. When it was actually time for the Palme d’Or presentation,
Lee acknowledged his mistake.
“In 63 years of life I’ve learned that people get a second chance, this is
my second chance,” he said. “I apologize for messing up. It took a
lot of suspense out of the night I understand, it wasn’t on purpose.”
'Titane' Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
However, Lee still had to be stopped from
revealing the winner before the final special guest, Sharon
Stone, had been welcomed on stage.
Titane, Ducournau’s follow up feature to her lauded cannibal-coming-of-age story
Raw (which premiered in Cannes’ Critics’
Week sidebar), combines body horror, female revenge films, and F9-esque
car-obsession in what is arguably the most radical film in the Cannes competition this year.Ducournaunow
becomes only the second female winner of the Palme d’Or afterJane Campion, who won in 1993 forThe Piano.
The win was also a victory for Neon,
which has Titane‘s U.S. rights, giving the
distributor two Palme d’Or awards in a row after Bong Joon
claimed the prize in 2019, the last time Cannes was held.
Elsewhere on the night, two films won the Grand Prix award, Iranian drama A Hero from two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The
Salesman) and Compartment No. 6,Juho Kuosmanen’s follow-up to his debut, The
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, which won the Un Certain Regard prize for best film in Cannes
picked up best actor for his performance in Justin Kurzel’s Nitram, in which he portrayed the disturbed lone gunman responsible for the
1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, the worst mass shooting in modern Australian history. Renate Reinste was named best actress for The Worst Person in the World, Joachim Trier’s dark romantic comic
Leos Carax, who opened the Cannes with his musical dramaAnnette, won the best director award.
The 74th Cannes Film Festival kicked off July 6, two months later than
usual, amid safety concerns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last year’s festival was canceled
because of COVID-19.
Lee, who has appeared in Cannes with
films such as BlacKkKlansman (2019) and
Do The Right Thing (1989), is the first Black person to be president of the Cannes jury. This year’s jury is also
the first in Cannes history where a majority of the jurors, five out of nine, are women.
The 2021 Cannes Festival will close with the out-of-competition screening of Nicolas Bedos’ French spy
spoof OSS 117: From Africa With Love,
starring Jean Dujardin, on July 17.