The 74th Cannes Film Festival will on Saturday award its top honor, the Palme d'Or, as selected by a jury headed by Spike Lee.
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. With smaller crowds and mandated mask-wearing in theaters, Cannes pushed forward with an ambitious slate of global cinema. Last year's Cannes was completely canceled by the pandemic.
Twenty-four movies are 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 favorite.
Among the best-received films at the festival were: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's portrait of honor 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. Only one female filmmaker has ever won Cannes top award (Jane Campion for "The Piano"), so a win for Ducournau or Mia Hansen-Løve ("Berman Island") would be history making. If Haroun were victorious, it would be the second time a film from Africa won.
Lee is the first Black jury president at Cannes. His fellow jury members are: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Song Kang-ho, Tahar Rahim, Mati Diop, Jessica Hausner, Kleber Mendonça Filho and Mylène Farmer.