It’s a wrap for this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but the closing ceremony did not go as planned thanks to jury president Spike Lee.
As The Associated Press reports, Lee was asked to being the ceremony by announcing the winner of the first award; traditionally, once all the prizes were awarded the winner of festival’s most prestigious award, the Palme d’Or, is revealed.
That’s not what happened this year; instead, Lee stood to his feet, and proclaimed, “The film that won the Palme d’Or is ‘TItane’…” Lee said, while he was immediately told, “Wait, wait.”
A few moments of confusion followed as Lee huddled with the jury and was told he was supposed to have waited until the end for the big announcement.
You’re off the hook, Brian Cullinan of PwC! pic.twitter.com/Fgs0Y0gvrM
— Scott Feinberg @ Cannes (@ScottFeinberg) July 17, 2021
“Titane” director Julia Ducournau didn’t come onto the stage to accept the award, instead waiting until the formal announcement was made at the end of the ceremony. Ducournau is only the second female director to win the prestigious award, which was also won by Jane Campion for “The Piano” in 1993.
Lee is taking full responsibility for the fumble.
“I have no excuses. I messed up,” said Lee at a post-ceremony press conference, reported The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m a big sports fan. It’s like the guy at the end of the game in the foul line, he misses the free throw, or a guy misses a kick.”
Lee also said that he’d spoken to festival representatives to offer an apology. “I was very specific to speak to the people of Cannes and tell them that I apologize. They said forget about it,” he added.
Lee addressed his mistake one more time, while discussing why this year’s festival has been such an important one.
“We love cinema, and it’s a great honour for us to be on the jury,” Lee said. “This year, especially, after COVID-19. This is historic. Besides me f**king up, this is historic.”
Here is the complete list of winners at this year’s Festival du Cannes:
Palme d’Or: “Titane”
Grand Prix: (tie) “A Hero” and “Compartment No. 6”
Jury Prize: (tie): “Ahed’s Knee” and “Memoria”
Best Actress: Renate Reinsve, “The Worst Person in the World”
Best Actor: Caleb Landry Jones, “Nitram”
Best Director: Leos Carax, “Annette”
Best Screenplay: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car”
Camera d’Or: “Murina” by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović
Short Film Palme d’Or: Tian Xia Wu Ya by Tang Yi
Special Jury Mention for Short Film: “Ceu de Agosto” by Jasmin Tenucci