Votes have been counted and results have been discussed: the ICS has decided upon their winners of this year’s Cannes film festival, who we suspect will be quite different from the ones chosen by the Coens presided jury later tonight. It was a long, hard battle all the way between the works of two directors known for their impeccable technical work, yet both with very different sensibilities when it comes to emotion in their films: Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin and Todd Haynes’ Carol. They were not only locked in a tight battle for the Palme d’or, but also were very contentious in a number of other categories. But Cannes rules are Cannes rules, so it all came down to the Palme win, and in the end Carol was assas…. no, we won’t go there. But this year’s winner of the ICS Palme d’Or is The Assassin, a film more than two decades in the making, and a triumphant return for the Taiwanese director after almost a decade. Todd Haynes wins the Grand Prix for his beautifully conceived lesbian romance Carol, a film that could very well be in line for several of those other important film awards next February, the Oscars. The third award for a film as a whole, the Prix du Jury, was taken by Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth.
Elsewhere, debuting director László Nemes snatched the Best Director award for his grim Holocaust drama Son of Saul, while Best Actor went to Sri Lankan actor Jesuthasan Antonythasan for his performance in Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, a role that has certain parallels with his own life story. In Best Actress, for the third year in a row we have a tie: Chinese actress Zhao Tao as a mother whose son is taken away in Mountains May Depart, and Margherita Buy as a daughter who is losing her mother in Mia Madre. Finally, the win in Best Screenplay went to Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou for The Lobster, a tale about people being turned into animals if they don’t find a mate. One of the most noticable aspects of these results is that, despite a large presence in the selection, French films were almost completely looked over by the ICS, with the exception of the acting in Dheepan (by a non-French actor, no less).
This year, these awards were voted on by ten ICS members present in Cannes.
Palme d’or: The Assassin, by Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Grand Prix: Carol, by Todd Haynes
Prix du Jury: Youth, by Paolo Sorrentino
Best Director: László Nemes, for Son of Saul
Best Actor: Jesuthasan Antonythasan, for Dheepan
Best Actress (tie): Zhao Tao, for Mountains May Depart, and Margherita Buy, for Mia Madre
Best Screenplay: Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, for The Lobster