‘The Tree of Life’ Wins Palme d’Or at 2011 Cannes Film Festival

Despite a great critical reception to competition entries like Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre or Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive, it was Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life that took home the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The jury lead by American Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences member Robert De Niro chose to give the top Cannes award to the American auteur whose film was one of the most anticipated leading into the festival. The Tree of Life is expected to have a strong showing at this year’s Academy Awards with a well-respected filmmaker and a strong, Oscar-friendly cast.

The Grand Prix Award, which can be thought of as a runner-up prize, went to both the Dardennes brother’s The Kid With the Bike and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Annatolia. Nicholas Winding Refn took home the Best Director prize for his film Drive and Kirsten Dunst won the Best Actress award for her performance in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. Curiously, French actor Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor award for his silent performance in Michael Hazavanicius’ The Artist.

The results from the Cannes Film Festival are not notoriously influential on the Oscar race, but this year with three of the top awards going to English-language films it could be different. The Tree of Life already has high expectations for Awards success and Nicholas Winding Refn may have just emerged as a strong contender along with his film. View the entire list of award-winners below:

Palme d’Or
The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick

Grand Prix:
The Kid With a Bike, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Best Actor
Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Director
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Best Actress
Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia

Best Screenplay
Footnote, Joseph Cedar

Prix du Jury
Polisse, Maïwenn

Results are courtesy of In Contention. Stay tuned for a final Cannes Wrap-Up along with my most anticipated films that are coming from Cannes to the U.S.

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  • I’m shocked at the Palme. Where was ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ or ‘Le Havre?’

    Other than the top prize, things fell roughly where I expected. ‘Drive’ for director isn’t too alarming and I think many predicted both the Actor and Actress choices. I believe ‘The Artist’ may qualify as English-language as well though. That would be 4 of 8!

  • Angel E.

    Well…
    We have the first entry for the 2012 Academy predictions…

  • I’m on the fence about that actually, Angel E. Only one of Malick’s films has been a real Oscar player and this film divides its audience.

    Last year’s Palme winner, despite being fairly accessible and almost universally praised, couldn’t even scrape a foreign language nomination. How strong of a citation is this? It still has to overcome a May theatrical release as well.

    But I’ll leave this discussion to awards experts and those who have actually seen the film. My qualifications are rather thin.

  • Jose

    I wonder if Dunst winning is a consolation prize due to the fact that Von Trier is banned from Cannes. I mean Tilda should’ve won. I can’t wait to see how these films do at the box office and come awards season.

    By the way Davin, what was last year’s winner?

  • ‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives’

    I don’t think it was completely a consolation prize, but I only predicted her because I thought ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ would win either the Grand Prix or the Palme; Jury selected awards tend to spread the love. Considering that Swinton’s film went unnoticed, I agree that it is interesting that they chose Dunst over Swinton. It could be that Swinton is more established than Dunst making Dunst’s performance a larger career move. But hey, this just speculation.

  • Asif Khan

    wow i was away for 2 days and coming back seeing Tree of life win made me so happy :)

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