Cannes Film Festival Anoints Sofia Coppola as Best Director, ‘The Square’ for Palm d’ Or

Coppola becomes only second female director ever to win prestigious French honor.

May 29, 2017 11:57 am

Several of the major awards from the 70th anniversary Cannes Film Festival didn’t go according to the anticipated script—with Sofia Coppola breaking a 56-year drought.

Director Pedro Almodóvar and his jury awarded the Palme d’Or (the festival’s best picture prize) to Swedish filmmaker’s Ruben Östlund’s controversial satire, The Square.

That shocked prognosticators, according to Variety, because the satire set in the world of performance art had divided audiences.

The Beguiled
(Focus Features)
Ben Rothstein / Focus Features


The Grand Prix was awarded to BPM (Beats Per Minute), director Robin Campillo’s chronicle of the early-’90s AIDS crisis in France.

Perhaps most notable for movie lovers on this side of the Atlantic, best director honors went to Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled, a female-driven Civil War drama based on the Thomas Cullinan novel.

She was the first women to win the Cannes directing prize since Russian filmmaker Yuliya Solntseva won for The Story of the Flaming Years in 1961.

Diane Kruger won for best actress for the German movie, In the Fade, while Joaquin Phoenix (You Were Never Really Here) accepted his best actor trophy in Converse sneakers—a fashion faux-pas in France.

In another surprise twist, Almodóvar’s Cannes jury awarded a tie for best screenplay(s) to The Killing of a Sacred Deer and You Were Never Really Here.

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