Not surprisingly, critics' fave "Winter Sleep" directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylon, won the Cannes Palme D'Or Saturday. (Our review here.)
Lead contenders were Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner," starring Timothy Spall, who was the favorite to win Best Actor; Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher," which won best director; the Dardennes' "Two Days, One Night," starring Best Actress contender Marion Cotillard, who was also overlooked for Jacques Audiard's "Rust & Bone." In an upset, Julianne Moore took home the prize for David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars," which was better received by the Europeans than the North American press. Also passed over was Anne Dorval, star of 25-year-old Xavier Dolan's "Mommy," which shared the jury prize with 83-year-old Jean-Luc Godard's "Goodbye to Language."
Sony Pictures Classics' Michael Barker and Tom Bernard were happy, as they are releasing three of the award-winners, fest hits "Foxcatcher," "Mr. Turner" and "Leviathan," which they picked up at the festival.
It all came down to the jury, led by president Jane Campion, the only woman in 67 years to win the Palme d'Or ("The Piano"), who told me the other night she had some favorites she would fight for. The rest of the jury includes Jeon Do-yeon (the only Korean actress to win Best Actress, for "Secret Sunshine"), Leila Hatami (star of Iran's "A Separation," who has been threatened by her countrymen for kissing Cannes' retiring director Gilles Jacob on the cheek), Sofia Coppola (Cannes entries "Marie Antoinette" and "The Bling Ring"), French actress Carole Bouquet, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (who won best director for "Drive" and showed "Only God Forgives" last year), Jia Zhangke ("Touch of Sin" won best screenplay in 2013), producer/star Gael Garcia Bernal ("No" played Director's Fortnight), and Willem Dafoe ("Light Sleeper").
While Alice Rohrwacher's "The Wonders" won the Grand Prix, gender had nothing to do with it, Campion insisted at the post-awards press conference. "The gender of the filmmaker never entered our discussions once," she said, adding that each award demanded a majority of secret votes, literally thrown into an ice bucket.
Two films shared the jury prize. "I loved 'Mommy,'" Campion said. "It's a great brilliant modern film from such a young director, like a genius, I think. When I saw the Godard film, I wasn't expecting this. I was blown away by it. I loved the experience of the film, I found it so modern, like the fact that he throws a narrative away. It's like a power, I found myself awakened, this is a free man, a very moving man. We coupled them, we were aware that they were the oldest and youngest director. The directors here know we owe our life's blood to Godard. It's so wonderful that we had this opportunity to heartfully give him a prize. I wished the dog would have come and got it. We would have given him the Golden Bone."
Here is the list of winners:
Palme d’Or: "Winter Sleep," Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Grand Prix: "The Wonders," Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Prix de la Mise en Scene (best director): Bennett Miller, "Foxcatcher"
Prix du Scenario (best screenplay): "Leviathan," Writers: Andrey Zvyaginstev and Oleg Negin
Camera d’Or (best first feature): "Party Girl," Directors: Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis (feature here)
Prix du Jury (jury prize): "Mommy," Director: Xavier Dolan; and "Goodbye to Language," Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Prix d’interpretation feminine (best actress): Julianne Moore, "Maps to the Stars"
Prix d’interpretation masculine (best actor): Timothy Spall, "Mr. Turner"