Saint Laurent Productions’ ‘Emilia Perez’ Wins Big at Cannes Closing Ceremony

CANNES – Saint Laurent Productions’ “Emilia Perez” won big on the closing night of the Cannes Film Festival, with the movie being awarded a joint best actress prize for all its leads, as well as the third place jury prize for director Jacques Audiard.

Adriana Paz, Karla Sofía Gascón, Selena Gomez, and Zoe Saldana were awarded the best actress prize as an ensemble for the musical comedy.

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“Barbie” director Greta Gerwig served as president of the jury, alongside actresses Lily Gladstone, Eva Green, and Ebru Ceylan, actors Omar Sy and Pierfrancesco Favino, and directors J.A. Bayona, Hirokazu Kore-eda and Nadine Labaki.

“Women together — that’s something we wanted to honor when we made this award,” said Gerwig when announcing the unusual prize. “Each of them is a standout, but together they are transcendent.”

It is the first time the jury has awarded a collective acting prize for actresses, though Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos were jointly awarded the Palme d’Or with director Abdellatif Kechiche a decade ago for “Blue is the Warmest Color.”

Gascón is also the first trans actress to win a best actress prize in Cannes. Saint Laurent dressed her for the occasion in an asymmetrical black jersey dress, brass earrings and cuffs and a pair of classic patent pumps.

Gascón accepted the award solo and dedicated the prize to all trans people. “I want these people to come to believe, like in ‘Emilia Perez,’ that it is always possible to improve, that everyone can become a better person. So, all of you who have made us suffer, it is also time for you to change,” she said.

The film, also starring Édgar Ramirez, has been one of the buzziest at Cannes, and its winning of two prizes is also a rarity as the jury traditionally gives just one prize per film.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 25: US director Sean Baker (3rd L), poses after he won the Palme d'Or for the film 'Anora' during the Closing Ceremony at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 25, 2024. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu via Getty Images)
The “Anora” cast and crew posing with the Palme d’Or.

The top prize of Palme d’Or went to Sean Baker’s “Anora” starring Mikey Madison as a stripper-turned-call girl who marries the son of a Russian oligarch.

“This, literally, has been my singular goal as a filmmaker for the past 30 years, so I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the rest of my life,” Baker said upon accepting the award.

He also encouraged viewers to see films on the big screen. “The future of cinema is where it started – in a movie theater,” he said. “The world has to be reminded that watching a film at home while scrolling through your phone, answering emails and half paying attention is just not the way, although some tech companies would like us to think so.”

Madison attended the ceremony wearing Chanel, as she has been dressed throughout the festival.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Demi Moore attends the Red Carpet of the closing ceremony at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 25, 2024 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)
Demi Moore in Celine

Demi Moore, who had been tipped for best actress for her mindbending role in “The Substance,” attended the film in a black and white couture gown from Celine.

The film, costarring Margaret Qualley and Dennis Quaid, took the best screenplay prize for director Coralie Fargeat.

“This film speaks to the experience of women in the world,” Fargeat said when accepting the prize. The movie is set as a feminist body horror film commentary on the tyranny of youth and beauty.

“I really believe that movies can change the world, so I hope this movie will be a little stone to build new foundations. I really think we need a revolution, and I don’t think it has really started yet,” she said.

It was a strong year for female directors, as the second place Grand Prix went to Payal Kapaidia for “All We Imagine As Light.” The film tells the stories of a trio of women in Mumbai.

In the best actor award, Jesse Plemmons won for his role in “Kinds of Kindness,” Oscar-winner Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest surrealist film. Plemmons was not present to accept the award, but he attended the premiere on the arm of wife Kirsten Dunst earlier in the festival.

“Star Wars” director George Lucas was given an honorary Palme d’Or, a lifetime achievement award of sorts, presented by good friend and fellow San Franciscan Francis Ford Coppola, whose own film “Megalopolis” screened earlier in the festival.

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