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77th Cannes Film Festival – All The Winners

Originally founded in 1938 to compete with the Venice Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival is a luxurious home to many films of all kinds of genres.

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
Cannes Film Festival Logo

The 77th Cannes Film Festival began on May 14th and ended on May 25th, It usually takes place at the same time every year, and it has had many strong divisive films this year.

The festival unveiled many films born from a long-time passion this season including Francis Ford Coppola’s passion project Megalopolis, Kevin Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1 which is the first parter of what seems to be the story he’s always wanted to tell, or even David Cronenberg’s The Shrouds which is a film he wanted to make after his wife had passed away 7 years ago.

Best Screenplay – ‘The Substance’

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
The Substance / Image Courtesy of MUBI

Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance managed to win the Best Screenplay prize after having some of the most divisive reviews in the festival with many calling it great and some calling it bad. The Substance starring Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley is a grotesque body horror that focuses on the theme of self-obsession and beauty.

The film is about a celebrity deciding to use a black market drug, a cell-replicating substance that temporarily creates a younger, better version of herself. The film is also slated to hit theaters on September 20th.

Camera d’Or – ‘Armand’

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
Armand / Image Courtesy of Eye Eye Pictures

Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel’s Armand managed to win the Camera d’Or prize, the prize for directors who make their first feature/directorial debuts. The film stars Renate Reinseve, known for The Worst Person in the World, as she plays a woman named Elizabeth who has to handle a situation at her son’s school because of another family accusing her son (Loke Nikolaisen) of abusing their son.

This drama that mostly takes part in a school has had some good reviews and we’d be eager to see what more movies Tøndel, who is the grandson of Ingmar Bergman, will make.

Best Actress & Jury Prize – ‘Emilia Perez’

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
Emilia Perez / Image Courtesy of Festival de Cannes, photographed by Shana Besson

Even though some people thought that either Emma Stone (Kinds of Kindness), Mikey Madison (Anora) or even Demi Moore (The Substance) would be winning Best Actress at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, It came as a surprise that Adriana Paz, Zoe Saldana, Karla Sofía Gascón, Selena Gomez all happened to win the prize together in Jacques Audiard’s Emilia Perez.

This musical crime comedy follows Zoe Saldana’s character Rita who receives an unexpected offer where she has to help a feared cartel boss retire from the business they work in by becoming the woman they’ve always dreamed of being.

Furthermore, the film managed to also secure the Jury Prize, which is an award given to films intended to recognize an original work that embodies the spirit of inquiry, it is also the third most prestigious award right before the Grand Prix and the Palme d’Or.

Despite receiving mixed reviews at Cannes with some either calling it a film that lacks inspiration with others calling it “Cannes’ Highlight”, but if anything a musical crime comedy with Selena Gomez in it surely does not sound too bad. It’s definitely a pleasure seeing Selena Gomez as a Cannes Best Actress winner, even though she told Vanity Fair that she doesn’t understand her “full capabilities”.

Best Actor – ‘Kinds of Kindness’

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
Kinds of Kindness / Image Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Now this one seemed like a surprise to some people, but with the reviews of the Best Actor’s winner in the film, it doesn’t feel much of a surprise… Jesse Plemons won the Best Actor prize in this year’s Cannes Film Festival for Kinds of Kindness. The next feature in Yorgos Lanthimos’ filmography was made to enrapture any audience member for three hours non-stop with cursed vibes whilst also enjoying most of it. This unpredictable surrealist anthology happened to also debut at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

When asked what his impressions were for the first time on the Kinds of Kindness script, Jesse Plemons stated:

“I felt like I had experienced such a wide range of emotions and feelings. My body was just on fire. But then on an intellectual level, you can’t quite comprehend why or what ride you’ve just been on. But that was exciting to me. This isn’t just a weird film for the sake of being weird. There’s something really human about it. I felt that it’s exploring issues that we all deal with but rarely look at in this way.” 

Special Prize – ‘The Seed of the Sacred Fig’

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
The Seed of the Sacred Fig / Image Courtesy of Neon

Mohammad Rasoulof’s The Seed of the Sacred Fig took home the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The Special Jury Prize is a unique award that is not given annually but only at the request of the official jury. 

It makes sense for Rasoulof’s film to receive this award because he was sentenced to 8 years in prison in Iran for making this film, which subsequently resulted in the director fleeing to Europe. This film, which follows a court investigator whose family life is torn apart during anti-government protests, received a 12-minute standing ovation at Cannes, which apparently could have gone for longer if Rasoulof did not get them to stop so he could give a speech.

Muslim audiences purportedly may have been soured through the film, with a screening’s audience laughing at the Qur’an being recited. With that considered, most reactions to the film were overwhelmingly positive leading to a lot of people thinking it would win the Palme d’Or with this family drama that slowly descends into madness, with one review calling it a “pueblo shootout by Sergio Leone”. 

Best Director – ‘Grand Tour’

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
Grand Tour / Image Courtesy of Shellac Sud

This one is probably the most unexpected of them all, with people predicting the Best Director award would be given to Yorgos Lanthimos or Francis Ford Coppola, even though Coppola’s Megalopolis was very divisive… Miguel Gomes was awarded the Best Director Prize for Grand Tour instead. Grand Tour is a period drama that follows Edward, a man holidaying in 1917 Rangoon, who flees his fiancee Molly on their wedding day. This impulsive action leads panic to replace his travels as Molly, amused by his escape, decides to trail him across Asia.

The movie may not have the top-tier reviews but is being praised for its unique style courtesy of Gomes who directed a lot of the film remotely, thousands of miles away from the shooting location due to the pandemic. The film is described as Gomes’ Asia-set fever dream which blends the past and the present in an indistinguishable way.

Grand Prix – ‘All We Imagine as Light’

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
All We Imagine As Light / Image Courtesy of Sideshow and Janus Films

The Grand Prix, also known as the Grand Prize, has been awarded to Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine as Light, a film about love and sisterhood that received an eight-minute long standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. The film follows Kani Kusruti’s character Prabha, a hard-working nurse who works in a shabby local hospital with a troubled routine, when she receives an unexpected gift from her estranged husband. Contrasting this as a secondary plot, Prabha’s younger roommate, Anu tries to be intimate with her boyfriend.

The film pumps slice-of-life pieces of poetry within everyday Indian life. According to some, the film showcases a humane gentle tale of freshness and emotional clarity.

Despite being predicted by many to be the Palme d’Or winner, it’s hardly disappointing that it happened to win the second most prestigious award in this festival with reviews calling it gorgeous & absorbing, wonderfully tender and a meditative soliloquy on loneliness and connection.

With this being Kapadia’s second feature, we will likely see more critically-acclaimed projects from her. If you managed to get the Grand Prix with only your second feature, then your future is probably bright.

Palme d’Or – ‘Anora’

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
Anora / Image Courtesy of Neon

Finally, Sean Baker’s Anora has won the Palme d’Or for the 77th Cannes Film Festival and due to both the film’s reception and the winning of the award, it has also been getting Oscar buzz.

Anora, which stars Mikey Madison and Mark Eidelstein has been described as a strip-club fairytale with a glorious spirit and has had overwhelmingly positive praise you can read here in our previous article about the Cannes Film Festival.

Sean Baker’s Anora is the first American film to win the Palme d’Or since Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in 2011, and is also the fifth film from NEON to win the Palme d’Or with Parasite, Titane, Triangle of Sadness and most recently Anatomy of a Fall taking home consecutive wins beginning in 2020.

77th Cannes Film Festival - All The Winners
Sean Baker accepts the Palme d’Or for Anora at Cannes Film Festival, photographed by Sameer Al-Doumy – AFP

On top of that, Cannes Jury president Greta Gerwig commented on Sean Baker winning the Palme d’Or for his film, comparing it to the classic structures of Ernst Lubitsch and Howard Hawks, “It felt both new and in conversation with older forms of cinema,” said Gerwig. 

Accompanied by Sean Baker’s Anora win for the Palme d’Or, we can only hope that his upcoming films after Anora are as critically acclaimed as this one having directed a few fantastic films before this one in particular such as The Florida Project and Red Rocket.

“This literally has been my singular goal as a filmmaker for the past 30 years”

Sean Baker

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Mohaned is an Egyptian aspiring filmmaker who writes articles about movies he's enthusiastic about. He currently helps coordinate the Twitter / X content for Feature First.