The 2021 Cannes Film Festival officially came to an end with the awards ceremony in which this year’s competition jury named the best films and performances of the festival. With Spike Lee serving as president, the jury featured director Mati Diop, singer/songwriter Mylène Farmer, actress/director Maggie Gyllenhaal, writer/director Jessica Hausner, actress/director Mélanie Laurent, writer/director Kleber Mendonça Filho, actor Tahar Rahim, and actor Song Kang-ho. Find the full list of winners below.
In a historic win, Julia Ducournau won the Palme d’Or for her film “Titane,” which Neon releases stateside this year. This makes her only the second female director ever to win the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, including Jane Campion in 1993 for “The Piano.” (In a gaffe that briefly stunned the audience, Spike Lee accidentally announced the Palme winner at the top of the ceremony.)
Since the 2020 festival was canceled due to the pandemic, the last film to take the Palme d’Or (the festival’s top prize) was Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” in 2019 — a film that went all the way to the Oscars, winning Best Picture the following year.
This year’s jury had plenty to choose from, with new films from Leos Carax, Wes Anderson, Julia Ducournau, Paul Verhoeven, Asghar Farhadi, Sean Baker, and many more playing the festival in competition. As is tradition, the festival’s big winners will screen one more time for those still in France on Sunday.
In a return to form after two years, this year’s Cannes delivered quite the wide range of cinematic experiences, from bigger studio fare like Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” and Matt Damon in Tom McCarthy’s “Stillwater” to provocative new entries from Ducournau (“Titane”) and Carax (“Annette”).
At the beginning of the festival, Jodie Foster kicked off the proceedings by accepting the festival’s Honorary Palme d’Or prize. An Honorary Palme also went to Marco Bellocchio during the ceremony.
Also already announced were awards out of the Un Certain Regard and Critics’ Week lineups. Kira Kovalenko’s “Unclenching the Fists” won the top prize out of Un Certain Regard from a jury led by Andrea Arnold, who premiered her own documentary, “Cow,” out of competition at Cannes. In the Critics’ Week sidebar, Omar El Zohairi’s “Feathers” won the top prize from a jury led by Cristian Mungiu, himself a Palme d’Or winner for 2007’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.”
Palme d’Or: “Titane”
Grand Prix: (tie) “A Hero” and “Compartment No. 6”
Jury Prize: (tie): “Ahed’s Knee” and “Memoria”
Best Actress: Renate Reinsve, “The Worst Person in the World”
Best Actor: Caleb Landry Jones, “Nitram”
Best Director: Leos Carax, “Annette”
Best Screenplay: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car”
Camera d’Or: “Murina” by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović
Short Film Palme d’Or: Tian Xia Wu Ya by Tang Yi
Special Jury Mention for Short Film: “Ceu de Agosto” by Jasmin Tenucci