The Cannes film festival is over for another year, and last night the awards were handed out at the event. In most years it’s the winner of the coveted Palme d’Or that takes centre stage, but this year it’s the Best Director Award winner everyone is talking about.
Director Sofia Coppola became only the second ever female director to take home the Best Director award at Cannes, pushing her film The Beguiled is Oscar contender talks already. It’s the first time Coppola has submitted a competition title at Cannes since Marie Antoinette debuted in 2006. Her last non-competition film was 2013’s The Bling Ring. The only other female winner of the Best Director award was Yuliya Solntseva who won it in 1961 for her film The Story of the Flaming Years.
Coppola was not present for the ceremony, but had prepared a written statement that said “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.”
The top award of the evening went to the Swedish comedy The Square. It follows the story of a museum director whose life begins to fall apart, and how it affects the museum. The film has been called clever, witty and funny, and it wasn’t expected to be the big winner of the evening. Still, it surprised audiences and managed to draw a lot of attention to itself.
Diane Kruger was named best actress for her role in In the Fade. She played a German woman dealing with the sudden deaths of her son and husband due to a terrorist attack. Kruger stated during her acceptance speech that “I cannot accept this award without thinking about anyone who has ever been affected by an act of terrorism and who is trying to pick up the pieces and go on living after having lost everything.”
Joaquin Phoenix took home the best actor award for his role in the thriller You Were Never Really Here. He starred as a war veteran tormented by his ordeal. The film his attempts to save a teenage girl from a sex trafficking ring. He wasn’t expecting to win the award, and thus wore sneakers on the stage as he accepted it. He did apologize for it though, saying his leather shoes had already left the country.