The Tree of Life takes top prize at Cannes

Although Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life was met with a few boos following its debut screening at Cannes, the jury charged with handing out the festival’s top awards were more receptive, bestowing upon it the prestigious Palme d’Or for Best Film.

At a press conference following this year’s awards ceremony, chair Robert De Niro said that he and his fellow Jury members (including Uma Thurman, Jude Law and Olivier Assayas among others), “felt very clearly it was the movie, [that] the size of it, the importance seemed to fit the prize”.

The reclusive Malick was not present to accept the award, leaving the honour to producers Bill Pohlad and Dede Gardner.

The Dardenne brothers’ Kid With A Bike and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon A Time in Anatolia shared the runner up Grand Prix.

Kirsten Dunst was named Best Actress for her role in Lars von Trier‘s Melancholia, and not, as many had hoped, for her awkward performance beside her director at the press conference where he jokingly declared that he was a Nazi.

Best Actor went to Jean Dujardin of the highly acclaimed black-and-white silent film The Artist. One of the most beloved films of the festival (Pete Hammond at Deadline reports Dujardin received the biggest ovation of the awards’ ceremony), it was considered a dark horse for the Palme d’Or.

Nicolas Winding Refn‘s was awarded the Mise en Scene prize for Best Director for Drive. Joseph Cedar won the Prix du Scenario for his screenplay to Footnote, and Poliss collected the Prix Du Jury. Las Acasias director Pablo Giorgelli picked up the Camera d’Or for Best First Film  pipping Aussie contenders Julia Leigh (Sleeping Beauty) and Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) at the post.

Discuss: That’s it for another year at Cannes. We’ll keep you updated as to when you can catch all these films in Australia.

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