CANNES – The 2015 Cannes Film Festival has officially come to an end and, in something of a surprise, the winner of the Palme d'Or went to Jacques Audiard's “Dheepan.” The presidents of the jury, Ethan and Joel Coen, reminded the media during the final press conference these honors weren't determined by critics. Instead, they were chosen by a nine-member jury which included notable names such as Guillermo Del Toro, Jake Gyllenhaal, Xavier Dolan, Sienna Miller and Sophie Marceau.
Other major winners included “Son of Saul,” which took the Grand Prix, “The Assassin,” which took Best Director for Hsiao-hsien Hou; “The Lobster,” which won the Jury Prize; and “Chronic,” which won Best Screenplay.
Veteran French actor Vincent Lindon was a mile surprise picking up the Best Actor prize for “La Loi Du Marche,” but the bigger story was Best Actress. There was a split in the category amongst Rooney Mara (“Carol”) and Emmanuelle Bercot (“Mon Roi”). Many would have predicted Mara's co-star, Cate Blanchett, taking home the honor, sharing it with Mara or another actress. The jury was asked about Blanchett's absence during the press conference and skirted around the issue.
Here is a list of all of this year's winners and some immediate reactions as they were announced.
SHORT FILM – Waves '98 by Ely Dagher
CAMERA D'OR – Cesar Augusto Acevedo for “La Tierra Y La Sombre”
Reaction: Didn't see this Critics' Week selection, but only heard good things.
PRIX DU SCENARIO – Michael Franco for “Chronic”
Reaction: Stunned. Just saw the film and thought Roth and the actors were great, but it was Franco's commitment to his direction which was the strongest part of the film artistically. There were much better screenplays passed over here.
BEST ACTRESS (TIE) – Rooney Mara for “Carol” and Emmanuelle Bercot for “Mon Roi”
Reaction: Buzz was jury member Xavier Dolan wanted “Mon Roi” to get rewarded and it looks like he got it (he appeared to tear up at the speech). This is a very nice and deserving win for Mara, but most would have picked her co-star Cate Blanchett instead. This makes me wonder whether The Weinstein Company may push Blanchett to supporting during awards season. Both ladies are co-leads, but tough to imagine both of them getting nominated for most honors.
PRIX du JURY – Yorgos Lanthimos for “The Lobster”
Reaction: Great recognition for a film that created a tremendous amount of buzz the first few days of the festival. Nice to see Lanthimos take a prize home for trying to create something really, really different, insightful and entertaining at the same time.
BEST ACTOR – Vincent Lindon for “La Loi Du Marche”
Reaction: One of the few competition films I missed this year so I can't speak to it, but the French actor got a major standing ovation from the audience and delivered a very emotional speech.
BEST DIRECTOR – Hou Hsiau-Hsien for “The Assassin”
Reaction: I do not get the love for this one, but the jury decided to reward the longtime Cannes attendee for his commitment to…whatever. It's beautiful for sure, but I stand by my thoughts that there is truly nothing that special there.
GRAND PRIX – Lazlo Nemes for “Son of Saul”
Reaction: This is arguably one of my top three films of the year so far. It's a tremendous achievement that I would have given the Palme d'Or to. In any case, it's worth noting the Berlin Film Festival turned this picture down earlier this year. To say they have egg on their face is an understatement. Also, it's your leading candidate for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
Palme d'Or – Jacques Audiard for “Dheepan”
Reaction: Huge Audiard fan, but this is a surprise. Caught this film today on the final day of screenings and thought it was very good, but missing something at the end. This is Audiard's first Palme d'Or after previously winning the Grand Prix for “A Prophet” and the Screenwriting prize for “A Self-Made Hero.” Needless to say, most of the press covering the festival are stunned. One thing is for sure, it will be hard for “Mon Roi” to surpass “Dheepan” as France's submission for the 2015 Foreign Language Oscar race.
What do you think of this year's winners? Share your thoughts below.