Jane Fonda shows off her French and then says, “Let’s cut to the chase.” Jury chief Robert DeNiro announces the Palme d’Or winner: The Tree of Life. It’s a popular choice in the press room. Producers Bill Pohlad and Dede Gardner accept for director Terrence Malick. “Bravo!” say folks in the hall.
“Terry remains incredibly shy,” says Pohlad, who revealed at the press conference that he told Malick on the phone, who had departed Cannes, that he might win something. “The Tree of Life was a long road. Winning this award tonight has made it all worthwhile.” Fox Searchlight is cheering too, and Summit’s Patrick Wachsberger leads the standing ovation, as he has sold territories around the world.
The Palais went wild for Jean Dujardin, as he won Best Actor for The Artist. He’s known as a popular comedian, so this role as a silent film star who can’t make the transition to sound is a departure for him. It was gutsy for Michel Hazanavicius to make a black-and-white silent film, which turned into one of the hits of the fest. The press room goes nuts. Weinstein Co. has the movie and will push it stateside. Because it is silent, it has a classic universality.
The Dardenne brothers, who have won the Palme d’Or twice before, take home the Grand Prix for The Kid with a Bike–the audience gives the kid and Cecile de France applause as well. Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan shares the prize with them for Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.