The Square wins Cannes Palme d'Or, Sofia Coppola wins Best Director
Pedro Almodovar and his jury have given their final word on the Cannes competition, making history in the process.
The likes of Jessica Chastain, Will Smith, Paolo Sorrentino, and more have brought the annual film festival to a close Sunday evening, bestowing perhaps the most prestigious international film industry awards upon several films from the 2017 competition.
In a monumental triumph, The Beguiled‘s Sofia Coppola became only the second female filmmaker in history to take the Cannes Best Director prize, as Yuliya Solntseva remained the sole woman to have taken the honor since winning in 1961 for her film The Story of the Flaming Years.
“Thank you to the jury for this honor… Thank you to my father, who taught me about writing and directing and for sharing his love of cinema, and to my mother for encouraging me to be an artist,” Coppola, who was not present for the ceremony, said via written statement, which was read by jury member Maren Ade. “Thank you to Jane Campion for being a role model and supporting women filmmakers.”
Campion, who showed all episodes of the second season of her TV drama Top of the Lake at Cannes this year, remains the single female filmmaker to have won the Palme d’Or, which she shared with Farewell, My Concubine helmer Chen Kaige in 1993. The Beguiled marks Coppola’s first competition title since Marie Antoinette debuted at the festival in 2006. She previously screened 2013’s The Bling Ring in the Un Certain Regard section.
This year’s main slate included strong entries from heavy-hitting, world-renowned auteurs, kicking off last week with Todd Haynes feature directorial follow-up to Carol, Wonderstruck, and continuing with Bong Joon-ho’s creature feature Okja, both of which departed the Croisette empty-handed.
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Michael Haneke (Happy End), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) Andrey Zvyagintsev (Loveless), the Safdie brothers (Good Time), and Robin Campillo (120 Beats Per Minute) additionally made a lasting impression with critics, though the jury often deviates from the critical narrative, as evidenced in recent years when films like I, Daniel Blake and Dheepan won the Palme over buzzy favorites like Toni Erdmann and Son of Saul. This year, Lanthimos (Best Screenplay), Ramsay (Best Screenplay), Campillo (Gran Prix), and Zvyagintsev (Jury Prize) bagged awards, though it was Ruben Östlund’s polarizing art industry satire The Square that ultimately took the Palme d’Or.
Per critics, major acting contenders seemed to be Vincent Lindon (Rodin), Maryana Spivak (Loveless), Robert Pattinson (Good Time), Adam Sandler (The Meyerowitz Stories [New and Redacted]), Phoenix, and Nicole Kidman (The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), with late-breaking contender Diane Kruger swooping in to take Best Actress for Fatih Akin’s In the Fade, dedicating the award to victims of terror attacks, as the film details one woman’s life as it unravels in the wake of her family’s death in a bombing.
“Fatih [Akin], my brother, thank you for taking a chance on me… you gave me strength that I didn’t know I had in me,” Kruger said upon accepting the prize for Best Actress, thanking her In the Fade director. “I cannot accept this award without thinking about anyone who has ever been [impacted] by an act of terrorism, [people who are] trying to pick up the pieces and go on living. Please know that you are not forgotten. Thank you.”
Kidman, who appeared in four 2017 Cannes projects, wasn’t shut out of the awards process altogether, as the jury gave her a special award to coincide with the festival’s 70th anniversary.
“I am absolutely devastated to not be with you tonight… the whole experience of last week feels like a dream, actually… thank you to the jury led by Pedro. Thank you so much for honoring my work and the films and I’m blessed to have this job. I’m incredibly grateful to Yorgos Lanthimos, Sofia Coppola, Jane Campion, John Cameron Mitchell,” Kidman said in a video statement. (She already departed the festival earlier this week.) “I also want to say thank you to the festival for existing. Thank you… for making me a part of your story after so many years. Watching the 70th celebration the other night was amazing… so to be a part of this I’m eternally grateful, and I’m sad that I’m not there.”
Though Cannes largely exists unto itself, it can position major contenders for the awards race ahead. Since 2007, 22 performances in films that have debuted at the Cannes Film Festival have gone on to win or be nominated for Academy Awards, though statistics slightly favor actresses, as 13 women have carried the Cannes torch to Oscar glory as opposed to nine men. Still, in the same time frame, only one Cannes Best Actress winner (Carol‘s Rooney Mara) has progressed to an Oscar nod, though four Cannes-winning men (Inglorious Basterds‘ Christoph Waltz, Biutiful‘s Javier Bardem, The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin, and Nebraska‘s Bruce Dern) have done the same.
In terms of the Palme d’Or, only two films (Amour, The Tree of Life) have crossed over with the Academy’s Best Picture nominees. Last year’s champion, Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, has yet to open domestically, with a limited theatrical release planned for June 16.
Read on for a full list of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival winners.
2017 Main Competition winners:
Palme d’Or: Ruben Östlund – The Square
Gran Prix: Robin Campillo – 120 Beats Per Minute
Jury Prize: Andrey Zvyagintsev – Loveless
Best Director: Sofia Coppola – The Beguiled
Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here
Best Actress: Diane Kruger – In the Fade
Best Screenplay: Yorgos Lanthimos – The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here
Camera d’Or: Léonor Sérraille – Jeune Femme
Short Film Palme d’Or: Qiu Yang – A Gentle Night
Special 70th Anniversary Award: Nicole Kidman
2017 Un Certain Regard winners:
Un Certain Regard Prize: Mohammad Rasoulof – A Man of Integrity
Best Actress: Jasmine Trinca – Fortunata
Best Poetic Narrative: Mathieu Amalric – Barbara
Best Direction: Taylor Sheridan – Wind River
Jury Prize: Michel Franco – April’s Daughter
2017 International Critics Week winners:
Nespresso Grand Prize: Emmanuel Gras – Makala
France 4 Visionary Award: Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa – Gabriel and the Mountain
Leica Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film: Laura Ferrés – Los Desheredados
Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award: Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa – Gabriel and the Mountain
SACD Award: Léa Mysius – Ava
Canal+ Award: Aleksandra Terpińska – The Best Fireworks
2017 Director’s Fortnight winners:
Art Cinema Award: Chloé Zhao – The Rider
SACD Award: Claire Denis – Let the Sunshine In, Philippe Garrel – Lover for a Day
Europa Cinemas Label Award: Jonas Carpignano – A Ciambra
Illy Prize for Short Film: Benoit Grimalt – Back to Genoa City
120 Beats Per Minute