Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Reportedly Blocked Jon Hamm From Starring In David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Reportedly Blocked Jon Hamm From Starring In David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Why Is It Suddenly Not OK To Have Been Gripped By 'The Jinx'? Why Is It Suddenly Not OK To Have Been Gripped By 'The Jinx'? New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

5 Surprising & Controversial Cannes Film Festival Winners From Years Gone By

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 31, 2012 at 10:05AM

As much as people have quibbles with (much more democratically voted on) awards like the Oscars, the decisions by juries at film festivals tend to be even more contentious. Usually drawn from practitioners, actors, with a few other curious participants in there as well, jurors often come in with their own likes, dislikes and agendas, and in the absence of a unanimous choice, often end up settling for compromises.
15

Taste Of Cherry
1997: "Taste Of Cherry"/"The Eel"
Even with a handful of real stinkers in the line-up (Matthieu Kassovitz's swiftly forgotten "La Haine" follow-up "Assassin(s)," Johnny Depp's directorial debut "The Brave," which was barely seen again, and "The Serpent's Kiss," with Ewan McGregor), 1997 now looks like something of a banner year in competition at Cannes -- fortunate, given that it marked the 50th anniversary of the festival. There was Michael Haneke's startling, game-changing "Funny Games," Ang Lee's outstanding "The Ice Storm," Wong Kar-Wai's "Happy Together," Atom Egoyan's masterpiece "The Sweet Hereafter," Gary Oldman's bruising "Nil By Mouth" and Curtis Hanson's "L.A. Confidential," to this writer's mind the best studio movie of the 1990s. But a diverse, star-studded jury, led by Isabelle Adjani, decided to share the top prize between Abbas Kiarostami's "Taste of Cherry" and Shohei Imamura's "The Eel," two films falling firmly on the "difficult" side of the spectrum. In Kiarostami's case, it was probably as much a political decision as a creative one (the film is far from the director's best) -- rumor had it that the film's subject matter of suicide meant that it had been banned in Iran, and that Kiarostami had to smuggle the film out of the country. Both films are valuable, but there must have been more than a few on the Croisette who were shaking their heads at the decision.

Wind That Shakes The Barley
2006 - "The Wind That Shakes The Barley"
Ken Loach has become a regular presence at Cannes over his career. He's had three films in competition in the last four years, and he's had nine films at the festival in total since "Kes" premiered at the Critic's Week in 1969. He's practically a part of the furniture at the awards ceremony: he picked up his third Jury Prize this year for "The Angels' Share." But he's rarely considered a front-runner for the Palme D'Or, which made his victory in 2006 for "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" so surprising. It must have helped that the film, an Irish civil war drama starring Cillian Murphy, had a bigger scope and concerns than his usual films, and got some of his best reviews since "My Name Is Joe" eight years earlier. But a number of heavyweights also had rapturously-received pictures in competition, and most saw Loach as a firm outsider, with Guillermo Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," Pedro Almodovar's "Volver" and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel" all winning raves, and festival favorites like Lou Ye, Paolo Sorrentino, Rachid Boucahreb, Nanni Moretti, Bruno Dumont and Nuri Bilge Ceylan all competing too. But the jury, headed by Wong Kar-Wai and also including Samuel L. Jackson, Patrice Leconte and Monica Bellucci, went with Loach, perhaps aided by the heavy British contingent of Helena Bonham-Carter and Tim Roth being among them. It wasn't the worst decision in the history of Cannes -- far from it -- but it certainly turned heads at the time.     

"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"
"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"
2007 - "4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days"
Given that the year is considered one of the best for movies in recent history, it's not surprising that Stephen Frears' jury (which also included Toni Collette, Maggie Cheung, Orhan Pamuk and Sarah Polley) were spoiled with choices in 2007. There were disappointments, sure -- Wong Kar-Wai's "My Blueberry Nights" and Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" among them. But it was also an excellent year for world cinema, with Fatih Akin's "The Edge of Heaven," Julian Schnabel's "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly," Bela Tarr's "The Man From London," Ulrich Seidl's "Import Export," Carlos Reygadas' "Silent Light" and the animated "Persepolis" all getting great reviews, while David Fincher's "Zodiac," James Gray's "We Own The Night," Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park" and future Best Picture-winner "No Country For Old Men" all part of a strong U.S. showing too. But it was a first-time competition entrant who walked away with the top prize: Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, with his harrowing, stark, abortion drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days." It was an idiosyncratic pick for sure, and one that raised the hackles of many, not least 'Diving Bell' director Julian Schnabel, who later claimed that he'd been told that his film had won the Palme, but at "Around 2.00 pm, the jury changed their minds. That's why all the ['Diving Bell'] actresses were there." The director blamed the last-minute change on French actor Michel Piccoli, a jury member, saying "Perhaps he thought I was too successful or having too much fun." Still, Schnabel got Best Director at the festival, and was nominated at the Oscars, while "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" got exposed to a far wider audience, so it's difficult to be too upset about the decision.

This article is related to: Features, Cannes Film Festival, Ken Loach, Julian Schnabel, Cristian Mungiu, Quentin Tarantino, Abbas Kiarostami


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates