Familiar Faces Triumph at Cannes

The winners for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival were announced today. It was a celebration of old favourites as Michael Haneke, Matteo Garrone, Cristian Mungiu, and Ken Loach added more Cannes wins to their prizes from previous years. It's not too big of a surprise, since Cannes is very much the largest celebration of auteur filmmaking in cinema. As proof, 2009's winner for The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke, won the Palme d'or for Amour. Amour was easily among the favourites to win (if not the top) since it presented the critical peak of the festival when it opened to near-unanimous praise in the middle of the fest. A story about an aging couple that is drawing much comparison to Sarah Polley's Away from Her, Amour supposedly represents a good departure from the difficult, often unflinching nature of Haneke's previous films.

The winners:

Palme d'or (Best Film): Amour (Love), Michael Haneke
Grand Prix (Runner-up): Reality, Matteo Garrone
Best Director: Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebras Lux
Best Actor: Mads Mikkelsen in Jagten (The Hunt)
Best Actress: Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur in Beyond the Hills
Best Screenplay: Beyond the Hills - Cristian Mungiu
Jury Prize: The Angels' Share - Ken Loach
Camera d'or (Best First Feature): Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin
Best Short Film: Silent, L. Rezan Yesilbas

Source: Live streamed

The awards were hosted by Berenice Bejo from The Artist. This year's jury for the Official Selection was comprised of Nanni Moretti (president), Diane Kruger, Ewan McGregor, Andrea Arnold, Hiam Abbas, Emmanuelle Devos, Jean-Paul Gauthier, Alexander Payne, and Raoul Peck. Presenters at the ceremony included Alec Baldwin, Audrey Tautou, Adrien Brody, and Gong Li.

It's sad that David Cronenberg was shut-out once again (his Cosmopolis opened to reviews that ranged from mixed to positive... it's Cronenberg, so that's to be expected), and that other favourites like Marion Cotillard (Rust & Bone) went unacknowledged despite great notices. Cannes doesn't look to be the bellwether for Oscar fare that it was last year: remember that Tree of Life, The Artist, Drive, and Melancholia were the big winners at Cannes 2011. Some of these films will probably appear in the Foreign Language Film category, though, so we'll see where the year goes. Nevertheless, there's a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year: any festival that included Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron must be considered a success.