Do the wrong thing: Spike Lee mistakenly announces Cannes winner early

The jury president announced serial killer odyssey Titane as the recipient of the Palme d'Or at the start of the ceremony.

The awards ceremony for the 74th Cannes Film Festival has started where it should have ended, with jury president Spike Lee mistakenly announcing that the serial killer odyssey Titane has won the festival’s top honour, the Palme d’Or.

The win was mistakenly announced by jury president Spike Lee at the top of the show, unleashing a few moments of confusion.

Director Julia Ducournau did not immediately come to the stage to accept the award, instead waiting until the formal announcement at the end of the ceremony.

At the end, the win for Titane was announced by Lee and presenter Sharon Stone.

Julia Ducournau
Director Julia Ducournau holds the Palme d’Or (AP)

After his mistake, the ceremony continued and other awards were handed out while Lee was seen with his head in his hands.

The Grand Prix award was a joint honour split between the Iranian drama A Hero and Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen’s Apartment No. 6.

Best director was awarded to Leos Carax for Annette, the fantastical musical that opened the festival. The award was accepted by the musical duo Sparks, who wrote the script and music for the film.

Nadav Lapid’s Ahed’s Knee won the jury prize, while Caleb Landry Jones took home the best actor prize for his performance in Nitram.

Spike Lee
Lee is the jury president at Cannes (AP)

Renate Reinsve won best actress for Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World.

The Croatian coming-of-age drama Murina, by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, took the Camera d’Or award, a non-jury prize, for best first feature. Kusijanovic was absent from the ceremony after giving birth a day earlier.

Cannes’ closing ceremony caps 12 days of red-carpet premieres, regular Covid-19 testing for many attendees and the first major film festival to be held since the pandemic began in almost its usual form.

Caleb Landy Jones
Caleb Landry Jones accepts the award for best actor for his performance in Nitram (AP)

With smaller crowds and mandated mask-wearing in cinemas, Cannes pushed forward with an ambitious slate of global cinema. Last year’s Cannes was completely cancelled by the pandemic.

Twenty-four movies were in contention for the Palme.

The jury’s deliberations are private and unknown, but that never stops a wide spectrum of predictions, guesses and betting odds.

This year featured a strong slate of many top international filmmakers, but no movie was viewed as the clear favourite.

Jury members on the red carpet
Jury members on the red carpet (AP)

Among the best-received films at the festival were: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s portrait of honour and social media A Hero; Chadian filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s abortion drama Lingui; Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s meditative, Tilda Swinton-led Memoria; French director Julia Ducournau’s wild, high-octane serial-killer odyssey Titane; Sean Baker’s The Florida Project follow-up, Red Rocket; Japan’s Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Haruki Murakami adaptation, Drive My Car; and Russian director Kirill Serebennikov’s influenza tale, Petrov’s Flu.

In 2019, the Palme went to Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, which later took best picture at the Academy Awards, too.

Before Ducournau’s triumph, only one female filmmaker has ever won Cannes top award – Jane Campion for The Piano.

Do The Right Thing director Lee is the first black jury president at Cannes. His fellow jury members are Maggie Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Song Kang-ho, Tahar Rahim, Mati Diop, Jessica Hausner, Kleber Mendonca Filho and Mylene Farmer.

Before the ceremony, Lee and the jury posed for photographers holding hands on the red carpet.

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