“It took a lot of suspense out of the night I understand, it wasn’t on purpose,” said the director.
As with most awards ceremonies, the Cannes Film Festival likes to build up to the winner of its biggest award, the Palme d’Or winner. Alas, that wasn’t to be the case with Spike Lee on hand.
“I have no excuses,” Lee, this year’s jury president, said in a press conference. “I messed up.”
He then tried to make a sports analogy to compare his slip to, adding, “I’m a big sports fan. It’s like the guy at the end of the game in the foul line, he misses a free throw, or a guy misses a kick.”
Others might compare it to the 2017 Oscars when “La La Land” was erroneously announced as best picture over the actual winner, “Moonlight.” At least in this case, Lee only killed the suspense and announced the winner early, rather than assemble the wrong cast and crew on the stage only to send them off and replace them.
Maybe it was a language mix-up, or Spike just misunderstood her use of “first prize” in French to refer to the top prize of the night, rather than the first prize to be presented on the night, for Best Actor (Caleb Landry Jones, “Nitram”).
Instead, though, Lee quickly blurted out that Julia Ducournau’s “Titane” had picked up the Palme d’Or, to the shock and horror of his fellow panelists.
Hilariously, Spike almost did it again (though everyone already knew the winner thanks to his first flub).
Taking to the stage at the proper time for announcing the Palme winner, he said, “In 63 years of life I’ve learned that people get a second chance, this is my second chance. I apologize for messing up. It took a lot of suspense out of the night I understand, it wasn’t on purpose.”
But then he almost announced the winner again before the evening’s hostess, French actress Doria Tillier, evening stopped him so that Sharon Stone could come out and do what she was there to do … announce the Palme d’Or winner … that everyone already knew.
Perhaps Lee was just excited that Ducournau is only the second female — and first solo female — in history to win the honor, coming 28 years after the win for “The Piano” and Jane Campion. That year, she shared top honors with Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine.”
Lee said that the organization took the error well, telling him to “forget about it.” He later joked about it, talking about what an honor it was to be on the jury. “This year, especially, after COVID-19. This is historic. Besides me f—— up, this is historic.”
You can check out the complete list of winners below:
Palme d’Or: “Titane,” Julia Ducournau
Grand Prix: “A Hero,” Asghar Farhadi & “Compartment No. 6,” Juho Kuosmanen
Best Director: Leos Carax, “Annette”
Best Actress: Renate Reinsve, “The Worst Person in the World”
Best Actor: Caleb Landry Jones, “Nitram”
Jury Prize: “Memoria,” Apichatpong Weerasethakul & “Ahed’s Knee,” Nadav Lapid
Best Screenplay: “Drive My Car,” Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Camera d’Or: “Murina,” Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic
Palme d’Or, Short Film: “All the Crows in the World (Tian Xai Wu Ya),” Tang Yi
Special Mention: “Ceu de Agosto,” Jasmin Tenucci
Honorary Award: Marco Bellocchio