The Guardian and other outlets are calling it a 'ceremony of upsets', and I have to admit I was surprised. I had pegged the Dardnenne's brothers' Two Days, One Night to walk away with their third Cannes win. But It was not to be, as Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's three- hour plus epic confirmed early predictions to take top prize at Cannes 2014, beating out 17 other films to do so. The 'runner up' Grand prix prize went to The Wonders from director Alice Rohrwacher.
Timothy Spall won best actor for Mike Leigh's critically acclaimed biopic of British painter JMW Turner: Mr Turner, something I am personally pleased to see (Spall got the chance to make an 'always the bridesmaid but never the bride' speech at the ceremony and rightfully so given his lengthy CV). Surprise wins were in store for Julianne Moore too as she beat festival favourite Marion Cotillard (from Two Days, One Night) to the best actress award for her role in David Cronenbergs vicious Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars.
Bennett Miller's highly acclaimed festival entry, Foxcatcher, had been tipped as the film that could bag Steve Carell the acting award for his against-type role as an oddball millionaire who bankrolls the US wrestling team. He lost out to Spall, but Miller's film won the festival's best director award.
Third place prize- the Jury Prize- was interestingly shared between young and old talents: 25-year-old Xavier Dolan, for mother-and-son drama Mommy, and 83-year-old French New Wave veteran Jean-Luc Godard, for Goodbye to Language.
As the festival approached the home straight I noticed very strong reviews piling up for Andrey Zvyagintsev's dark Russian drama Leviathan, and it suddenly was pushed to the top of many favourite lists. Ultimately it only secured the best screenplay award.
Outside of the main festival prize, the offbeat, dog-focused horror film from director Kornel Mundruczo, White God, won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section, and Annie Silverstein's Skunk took top honours in the Cinefoundation. A drama starring a deaf and signing cast, The Tribe by director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, won in The Critics' Week section, while Love at First Fight from director Thomas Cailley won the top award at the Directors' Fortnight.
See also The Cannes official announcement, and The Guardian and The BFI's Sight & Sound breakdown of the awards as opposed to predictions. Eric Kohn on Indiewire believes this was the best Cannes in years.
Full list of winners:
Palme d'Or: Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylon
Grand Prix: The Wonders (Alice Rohrwacher)
Director: Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Actor: Timothy Spall, Mr Turner
Actress: Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
Jury Prize: Mommy (Xavier Dolan) and Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard)
Screenplay: Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, Leviathan