Anora Takes Top Cannes Prize

Francis Ford Coppola presents George Lucas with honorary Palme d'Or
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2024 10:05 AM CDT
Cannes Honors Anora , All We Imagine as Light
Mohammad Rasoulof accepts the special prize award for "The Seed of the Sacred Fig."   (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Sean Baker's Anora, a comic but devastating Brooklyn odyssey about a sex worker who marries the son of a wealthy Russian oligarch, won the Cannes Film Festival's top award, the Palme d'Or. The win Saturday marked a coronation for Baker, the 53-year-old indie filmmaker of The Florida Project. He accepted the prize with his movie's star, Mikey Madison, watching in the audience at the Cannes closing ceremony, the AP reports. "This, literally, has been my singular goal as a filmmaker for the past 30 years, so I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with the rest of my life," the American filmmaker said, laughing. Other winners included:

  • Honorary Palme d'Or: To George Lucas, presented by Francis Ford Coppola in a reunion of two of the most pivotal figures of the last half-century of American moviemaking. "I'm just a kid who grew up in a vineyard in Modesto, California, who makes movies in San Francisco, with my friend Francis," said Lucas.
  • Grand Prix: All We Imagine As Light, about sisterhood in modern Mumbai, won the second-highest honor. Payal Kapadia's second feature was the first Indian in competition in Cannes in 30 years.
  • Special prize: To Mohammad Rasoulof's The Seed of the Sacred Fig, a drama made secretly in Iran. Days ahead of the film's premiere, Rasoulof, facing an eight-year prison sentence, fled Iran on foot. His film, which includes real footage from the 2022-23 demonstrations, channels Iranian oppression into a family drama.

  • Best screenplay: To Coralie Fargeat's body horror film The Substance, starring Demi Moore as a Hollywood actress who goes to gory extremes to remain youthful.
  • Best actress: To an ensemble of Karla Sofía Gascón, Zoe Saldaña, Selena Gomez, and Adriana Paz for Jacques Audiard's Emilia Perez, a Spanish-language musical about a Mexican drug lord who transitions to a woman. Explaining the unusual choice, Greta Gerwig, who led the jury, said each performer was a standout, "but together they're transcendent." Gascón is the first trans actor to win a major prize at Cannes.
  • Best actor: To Jesse Plemons, for Yorgos Lanthimos' Kinds of Kindness, in which three stories are told with largely the same company of actors.
  • Best director: To Miguel Gomes, for Grand Tour, an Asian odyssey in which a man flees his fiancée from Rangoon in 1917.
  • Camera d'Or: The best first feature category, which spans all Cannes official selections, went to Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel for Armand, starring Renate Reinsve.
(More Cannes Film Festival stories.)

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