Cannes Film Fest 2021: Titane Wins Palme d’Or–Only Second Time Femme=Directed Film

With Titane, Julia Ducournau becomes only the second female director to claim Cannes’ top prize, the Palm d’Or.

But the ceremony was comically overshadowed by jury president Spike Lee, when he accidentally revealed the winner at the start of the night.

Chaos reigned at the awards ceremony for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival after jury president Spike Lee accidentally announced the winner of the Palme d’Or — Julia Ducournau’s Titane — right at the start of the night.

The master of ceremonies attempted to laugh off the slip-up and forget that it had happened, but with Cannes’ top prize having been revealed prematurely it set a comically awkward tone over the rest of the proceedings.

When it was actually time for the Palme d’Or presentation, Lee acknowledged his mistake.  “In 63 years of life I’ve learned that people get a second chance, this is my second chance,” he said. “I apologize for messing up. It took a lot of suspense out of the night I understand, it wasn’t on purpose.”


Spike Lee

However, Lee still had to be stopped from revealing the winner before the final special guest, Sharon Stone, had been welcomed on stage.

Titane, Ducournau’s follow up feature to her lauded cannibal coming-of age-story, Raw (which premiered in Cannes’ Critics’ Week sidebar), combines body horror, female revenge films, and car-obsession in was the most radical film in the Cannes competition this year.

Ducournau now becomes only the second female winner of the Palme d’Or after Jane Campion, who won in 1993 for The Piano

The win was also a victory for Neon, which has Titane‘s U.S. rights, giving the distributor two Palme d’Or awards in a row after Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite claimed the prize in 2019, the last time Cannes was held.

Grand Prix Award: Two Films

Two films won the Grand Prix award. The Iranian drama, A Hero from two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman) now becomes an Oscar Contenderin the Best International Feature category.

The second winner in this category was Compartment No. 6, Juho Kuosmanen’s follow-up to his debut, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, which won the Un Certain Regard prize for best film in Cannes in 2016.

Best Actor:

Caleb Landry Jones picked up best actor for his performance in Justin Kurzel’s Nitram, in which he portrayed the disturbed lone gunman responsible for the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, the worst mass shooting in modern Australian history.

Best Actress:

Renate Reinste was named best actress for The Worst Person in the World, Joachim Trier’s dark romantic comic comedy-drama.

Best Director:

Leos Carax, who opened the Cannes with his musical drama Annette, won the best director award.

The 74th Cannes Film Festival kicked off July 6, two months later than usual, amid safety concerns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last year’s festival was canceled because of COVID-19.