Sean Baker’s ‘Anora’ wins Palme d’Or at 77th Cannes Film Festival

The 77th Cannes Film Festival concluded in grand style at the French Riviera’s Grand Théâtre Lumière on Saturday, with Sean Baker’s Anora clinching the prestigious Palme d’Or, per Baker’s dramedy, featuring Mikey Madison, marks the first American win since Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in 2011. The film tells the intriguing tale of a New York stripper who finds herself entangled in unexpected circumstances after marrying a Russian oligarch’s son.

During his acceptance speech, Baker emphasised the communal essence of cinema. “Watching a film with others in a movie theatre is one of the great communal experiences,” he declared, advocating for the traditional moviegoing experience. “The future of cinema is where it started: in a movie theatre.”

Greta Gerwig, celebrated for her work on Barbie, presided over the main jury, which included Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone. The jury, tasked with evaluating 22 main competition entries, awarded significant honours.

Miguel Gomes was recognised as best director for Grand Tour. The best actress award was presented to the all-female cast of Emilia Pérez, comprising Adriana Paz, Zoe Saldana, Karla Sofía Gascón, and Selena Gomez. Jesse Plemons earned the best actor accolade for his role in Kinds of Kindness. Coralie Fargeat secured the best screenplay award for The Substance.

Other notable winners included Emilia Pérez, which received the jury prize, and All We Imagine as Light, which won the grand prize. The Camera d’Or for best first film went to Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel’s Armand. The Short Film Palme d’Or was awarded to Nebojša Slijepčević for The Man Who Could Not Remain Silent, and Mohammad Rasoulof’s The Seed of the Sacred Fig received a special prize amid political controversy.

A poignant moment arose as Rasoulof, who faced severe repercussions from the Iranian government, attended the premiere of his film, which received a 12-minute standing ovation. The festival also honoured Meryl Streep, Studio Ghibli and George Lucas with Honorary Palme d’Ors, celebrating their immense contributions to the cinematic world.

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