The Palme d'Or (French pronunciation: [palm(ə) dɔʁ]; English: Golden Palm) is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival. It was introduced in 1955 by the festival's organizing committee. Previously, from 1939 to 1954, the highest prize at the festival was the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film. In 1964, The Palme d'Or was replaced again by the Grand Prix, before being reintroduced in 1975.
|Presented by||Festival International du Film de Cannes|
|First awarded||1955 (awarded to Marty)|
|Currently held by||Parasite (2019)|
In 1954, the festival decided to present an award annually, titled the Grand Prix of the International Film Festival, with a new design each year from a contemporary artist. The festival's board of directors invited several jewellers to submit designs for a palm, in tribute to the coat of arms of the city of Cannes evoking the famous legend of Saint Honorat and the palm trees lining the famous Promenade de la Croisette. The original design by Parisian jeweller Lucienne Lazon, who took inspiration in a sketch done by legendary director Jean Cocteau, had the bevelled lower extremity of the stalk forming a heart, and the pedestal a sculpture in terracotta by the artist Sébastien.
In 1955, the first Palme d'Or was awarded to Delbert Mann for the film Marty. From 1964 to 1974, the Festival temporarily resumed a Grand Prix. In 1975, the Palme d'Or was reintroduced and has since remained the symbol of the Cannes Film Festival, awarded every year to the director of the winning film, and was then presented in a case of pure red Morocco leather lined with white suede.
As of 2019, Jane Campion is the only female director to have won the Palme d'Or, for her work on The Piano. However, in 2013, when Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d'Or, the Steven Spielberg-headed jury awarded it to the film's director Abdellatif Kechiche, as well as the film's actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. This marks the first time multiple Palme d'Or trophies were given out in the festival's history.
The jury decided to award the actresses alongside the director due to a Cannes policy that forbids the Palme d'Or-winning film from receiving any additional awards, thereby preventing the jury from rewarding both the film and the film's actresses separately. Of the unorthodox decision, Spielberg said that "had the casting been 3% wrong, it wouldn't have worked like it did for us". Kechiche later auctioned off his Palme d'Or trophy to fund his new feature film, and expressed dissatisfaction about the festival having given out multiple trophies in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying that he felt they had "publicly insulted" him by doing it, and that "liberating myself from this Palme d’Or is a way of washing my hands of this sorry affair".
Since its reintroduction, the prize has been redesigned several times. At the beginning of the 1980s, the rounded shape of the pedestal, bearing the palm, gradually transformed to become pyramidal in 1984. In 1992, Thierry de Bourqueney redesigned the Palme and its pedestal in hand-cut crystal. In 1997, Caroline Scheufele redesigned the statuette and since then, has been manufactured by Swiss jewellery Chopard. The palm is made from 4.16 oz (118 grams) of 18-carat yellow gold while the base of the branch forms a small heart. The Palme d’or rests on a dainty rock crystal cushion shaped like an emerald-cut diamond. A single piece of cut crystal forms a cushion for the palm, which was hand-cast into a wax mould and now presented in a case of blue Morocco leather. In 1998, Theo Angelopoulos was the first director to win the Palme d'or as we now know it today for his film Eternity and a Day.
The winner of the 2014 Palme d'Or, Winter Sleep—a Turkish film by Nuri Bilge Ceylan—occurred during the same year as the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema. Upon receiving the award, Ceylan dedicated the prize to both the "young people" involved in the ongoing political unrest in Turkey and the workers who were killed in the Soma mine disaster, which occurred on the day prior to the commencement of the awards event.
- § Denotes unanimous win
- # Denotes winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture. There have been only three winners of both the Palme d’Or and the Oscar for the Best Picture: The Lost Weekend (1945), Marty (1955), and Parasite (2019).
- ‡ The Palme d'Or for Union Pacific was awarded in retrospect at the 2002 festival. The festival's debut was to take place in 1939, but it was cancelled due to World War II. The organisers of the 2002 festival presented part of the original 1939 selection to a professional jury of six members. The films were: Goodbye Mr. Chips, La Piste du Nord, Lenin in 1918, The Four Feathers, The Wizard of Oz, Union Pacific, and Boefje.
Multiple award winners
Eight directors or co-directors have won the award twice:
- Alf Sjöberg (1946, 1951-latter in a tie with Vittorio De Sica)
- Francis Ford Coppola (1974, 1979-latter in a tie with Volker Schlöndorff)
- Bille August (1988, 1992)
- Emir Kusturica (1985, 1995)
- Shohei Imamura (1983, 1997-latter in a tie with Abbas Kiarostami)
- Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (1999, 2005)
- Michael Haneke (2009, 2012)
- Ken Loach (2006, 2016)
Honorary Palme d'Or
In 1997, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Festival, the Cannes jury awarded a "Palme des Palmes" for the first time.
|Year||Recipient||Profession||Nationality of recipient|
In 2002 the festival began to sporadically award a non-competitive Honorary Palme d'Or to directors or actors who had achieved a notable body of work but who had never won a competitive Palme d'Or.
|Year||Recipient||Profession||Nationality of recipient|
|2002||Woody Allen||Director/Actor/Screenwriter||United States|
|2007||Jane Fonda||Actress||United States|
|2008||Manoel de Oliveira||Director/Screenwriter||Portugal|
|2009||Clint Eastwood||Actor/Director||United States|
|2017||Jeffrey Katzenberg||Producer||United States|
In 2018, the Cannes jury also awarded a "Special Palme d'Or" for the first time.
|2018||The Image Book||Le Livre d'image||Jean-Luc Godard|| Switzerland
- List of actors who have appeared in multiple Palme d'Or winners
- Golden Bear, the highest prize awarded at the Berlin Film Festival
- Golden Lion, the highest prize awarded at the Venice Film Festival
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