The Palme d'Or (French pronunciation: ​[palm(ə) dɔʁ]; English: Golden Palm) is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.[1] It was introduced in 1955 by the festival's organizing committee. Previously, from 1939 to 1954, the highest prize at the festival was the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film.[1] In 1964, The Palme d'Or was replaced again by the Grand Prix, before being reintroduced in 1975.[1]

The Palme d'Or is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious awards in the film industry.[2][3][4]


The Commune of Cannes coat of arms

In 1954, the festival decided to present an award annually, titled the Grand Prix of the International Film Festival, with a new design each year from a contemporary artist. The festival's board of directors invited several jewellers to submit designs for a palm, in tribute to the coat of arms of the city of Cannes.[1] The original design by the jeweller Lucienne Lazon had the bevelled lower extremity of the stalk forming a heart, and the pedestal a sculpture in terracotta by the artist Sébastien.[5]

In 1955, the first Palme d'Or was awarded to Delbert Mann for Marty. From 1964 to 1974, the Festival temporarily resumed a Grand Prix.[1] In 1975, the Palme d'Or was reintroduced and has since remained the symbol of the Cannes Film Festival, awarded every year to the director of the winning film, and presented in a case of pure red Morocco leather lined with white suede.[1]

As of 2018, Jane Campion is the only female director to have won the Palme d'Or, for her work on The Piano. However, in 2013, when Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d'Or, the Steven Spielberg-headed jury awarded it to the film's director Abdellatif Kechiche, as well as the film's actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux.[6] This marks the first time multiple Palme d'Or trophies were given out in the festival's history.[7]

Palme d'Or awarded to Apocalypse Now at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival

The jury decided to award the actresses alongside the director due to a Cannes policy that forbids the Palme d'Or-winning film from receiving any additional awards, thereby preventing the jury from rewarding both the film and the film's actresses separately.[8] Of the unorthodox decision, Spielberg said that "had the casting been 3% wrong, it wouldn't have worked like it did for us".[9] Kechiche later auctioned off his Palme d'Or trophy to fund his new feature film, and expressed mixed feelings about the festival having given out multiple trophies in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.[10]

Since its reintroduction, the prize has been redesigned several times. At the beginning of the 1980s, the rounded shape of the pedestal, bearing the palm, gradually transformed to become pyramidal in 1984. In 1992, Thierry de Bourqueney redesigned the Palme and its pedestal in hand-cut crystal.

In 1997, a new design, created by Caroline Scheufele from Chopard, was created; a single piece of cut crystal forms a cushion for the 24-carat gold palm, which was hand-cast into a wax mould and presented in a case of blue Morocco leather.[11]

The winner of the 2014 Palme d'Or, Winter Sleep—a Turkish film by Nuri Bilge Ceylan—occurred during the same year as the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema. Upon receiving the award, Ceylan dedicated the prize to both the "young people" involved in the ongoing political unrest in Turkey and the workers who were killed in the Soma mine disaster, which occurred on the day prior to the commencement of the awards event.[12]

In 2017, the award was re-designed to celebrate the festival's 70th anniversary.[1] The diamonds were provided by an ethical supplier certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council.[1]

Award winners

Year Film Original Title Director(s) Nationality of Director *
Awarded as "Grand Prix du Festival International du Film"
1939  Union Pacific Cecil B. DeMille United States
1940–1945 No awards due to World War II.
1946 The Turning Point Velikij perelom / Великий перелом Fridrikh Ermler Soviet Union
Men Without Wings Muži bez křídel František Čáp Czechoslovakia
The Last Chance Die Letzte Chance Leopold Lindtberg Switzerland
Torment Hets Alf Sjöberg Sweden
Portrait of Maria María Candelaria Emilio Fernández Mexico
Rome, Open City Roma, città aperta Roberto Rossellini Italy
Neecha Nagar (Lowly City) Nīcā nagar / नीचा नगर Chetan Anand India
Brief Encounter David Lean United Kingdom
Pastoral Symphony La symphonie pastorale Jean Delannoy France
The Lost Weekend Billy Wilder United States
The Red Meadows De røde enge Bodil Ipsen and Lau Lauritzen, Jr. Denmark
1949 The Third Man Carol Reed United Kingdom
1951 Miss Julie Fröken Julie Alf Sjöberg Sweden
Miracle in Milan Miracolo a Milano Vittorio De Sica Italy
1952 The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice Orson Welles United States
Two Cents Worth of Hope Due soldi di speranza Renato Castellani Italy
1953 The Wages of Fear Le salaire de la peur Henri-Georges Clouzot France
1954 Gate of Hell Jigoku-mon / 地獄門 Teinosuke Kinugasa Japan
Awarded as "Palme d'Or"
1955 Marty § Delbert Mann United States
1956 The Silent World Le monde du silence Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle France
1957 Friendly Persuasion William Wyler United States
1958 The Cranes Are Flying Letyat zhuravli / Летят журавли Mikhail Kalatozov Soviet Union
1959 Black Orpheus § Orfeu Negro Marcel Camus France
1960 The Sweet Life § La dolce vita Federico Fellini Italy
1961 The Long Absence § Une aussi longue absence Henri Colpi France
Viridiana § Luis Buñuel Mexico
1962 Keeper of Promises § O Pagador de Promessas Anselmo Duarte Brazil
1963 The Leopard § Il gattopardo Luchino Visconti Italy
Awarded as "Grand Prix du Festival International du Film"
1964 The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Les parapluies de Cherbourg Jacques Demy France
1965 The Knack …and How to Get It Richard Lester United Kingdom
1966 A Man and a Woman Un homme et une femme Claude Lelouch France
The Birds, the Bees and the Italians Signore e signori Pietro Germi Italy
1967 Blowup Michelangelo Antonioni Italy
1968 No awards this year because of the May 1968 events in France.
1969 If.... Lindsay Anderson United Kingdom
1970 MASH Robert Altman United States
1971 The Go-Between Joseph Losey United Kingdom
1972 The Working Class Goes to Heaven § La classe operaia va in paradiso Elio Petri Italy
The Mattei Affair § Il caso Mattei Francesco Rosi Italy
1973 The Hireling Alan Bridges United Kingdom
Scarecrow Jerry Schatzberg United States
1974 The Conversation Francis Ford Coppola United States
Awarded as "Palme d'Or"
1975 Chronicle of the Years of Fire Chronique des années de braise Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina Algeria
1976 Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese United States
1977 Padre Padrone Paolo and Vittorio Taviani Italy
1978 The Tree of Wooden Clogs § L'albero degli zoccoli Ermanno Olmi Italy
1979 Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola United States
The Tin Drum Die Blechtrommel Volker Schlöndorff West Germany
1980 All That Jazz Bob Fosse United States
Kagemusha Kagemusha / 影武者 Akira Kurosawa Japan
1981 Man of Iron Człowiek z żelaza Andrzej Wajda Poland
1982 Missing § Costa-Gavras Greece
The Way § Yol Yılmaz Güney and Şerif Gören Turkey
1983 The Ballad of Narayama Narayama bushikō / 楢山節考 Shohei Imamura Japan
1984 Paris, Texas § Wim Wenders West Germany
1985 When Father Was Away on Business § Otats na službenom putu / Отац на службеном путу Emir Kusturica Yugoslavia
1986 The Mission Roland Joffé United Kingdom
1987 Under the Sun of Satan § Sous le soleil de Satan Maurice Pialat France
1988 Pelle the Conqueror Pelle erobreren Bille August Denmark
1989 Sex, Lies, and Videotape Steven Soderbergh United States
1990 Wild at Heart David Lynch United States
1991 Barton Fink § Coen brothers United States
1992 The Best Intentions Den goda viljan Bille August Denmark
1993 Farewell My Concubine Bàwáng bié jī / 霸王別姬 Chen Kaige China
The Piano Jane Campion New Zealand
1994 Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino United States
1995 Underground Podzemlje / Подземље Emir Kusturica Serbia and Montenegro
1996 Secrets & Lies Mike Leigh United Kingdom
1997 Taste of Cherry Ta'm-e gīlās / طعم گيلاس Abbas Kiarostami Iran
The Eel Unagi / うなぎ Shohei Imamura Japan
1998 Eternity and a Day § Mia aio̱nióti̱ta kai mia méra / Μια αιωνιότητα και μια μέρα Theodoros Angelopoulos Greece
1999 Rosetta § Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne Belgium
2000 Dancer in the Dark Lars von Trier Denmark
2001 The Son's Room La stanza del figlio Nanni Moretti Italy
2002 The Pianist Roman Polanski France, Poland
2003 Elephant Gus Van Sant United States
2004 Fahrenheit 9/11 Michael Moore United States
2005 The Child L'enfant Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne Belgium
2006 The Wind That Shakes the Barley § Ken Loach United Kingdom
2007 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile Cristian Mungiu Romania
2008 The Class § Entre les murs Laurent Cantet France
2009 The White Ribbon Das weiße Band, Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte Michael Haneke Austria
2010 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Lung Bunmi Raluek Chat / ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ Apichatpong Weerasethakul Thailand
2011 The Tree of Life Terrence Malick United States
2012 Amour Michael Haneke Austria
2013 Blue Is the Warmest Colour § La Vie d'Adèle: Chapitres 1 et 2 Abdellatif Kechiche France, Tunisia
2014 Winter Sleep Kış Uykusu Nuri Bilge Ceylan Turkey
2015 Dheepan Jacques Audiard France
2016 I, Daniel Blake Ken Loach United Kingdom
2017 The Square Ruben Östlund Sweden
* Director's nationality given at time of film's release.
§ Denotes unanimous win
The Palme d'Or for Union Pacific was awarded in retrospect at the 2002 festival. The festival's debut was to take place in 1939, but it was cancelled due to World War II. The organisers of the 2002 festival presented part of the original 1939 selection to a professional jury of six members. The films were: Goodbye Mr. Chips, La Piste du Nord, Lenin in 1918, The Four Feathers, The Wizard of Oz, Union Pacific, and Boefje.

Multiple award winners

Eight directors or co-directors have won the award twice:[13]

Honorary Palme d'Or

In 2002 the festival began to sporadically award a non-competitive Honorary Palme d'Or to directors who had achieved a notable body of work but who had never won a competitive Palme d'Or. In 2011 the festival announced that the award would be given out annually, however plans for this fell through and it was not awarded again until four years later in 2015.[14] American director Woody Allen was the inaugural recipient while pioneering French filmmaker Agnès Varda was the first woman to receive the award in 2015.[15][16] In 2016, Jean-Pierre Léaud became the first person to be awarded solely for acting.[17]

Year Recipient Profession Nationality of Recipient
2002 Woody Allen Director United States
2008 Manoel de Oliveira Director Portugal
2009 Clint Eastwood Actor/Director United States
2011 Bernardo Bertolucci Director Italy
2015 Agnès Varda Director France
2016 Jean-Pierre Léaud Actor France
2017 Jeffrey Katzenberg[18] Producer United States

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "A brief history of the Palme d'or". Festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Why the Cannes Film Festival matters (and how to pronounce it)". Vox. Retrieved 2018-01-21. 
  3. ^ "Cannes 2017: Sweden's Ruben Östlund wins Palme d'Or for 'The Square' - France 24". France 24. 2017-05-28. Retrieved 2018-01-21. 
  4. ^ Hammond, Pete (2016-05-11). "Cannes Vs Oscar: Why The Palme d'Or And Best Picture Academy Award Don't Make A Perfect Match". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-01-21. 
  5. ^ "Histoire de la Palme d'or, de Lucienne Lazon à Chopard" (in French). Retrieved 2017-05-31. 
  6. ^ "Cannes: 5 unforgettable Palme d'Or winners". 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2018-01-21. 
  7. ^ "Director Abdellatif Kechiche: Why I'm Selling My Palme d'Or (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-01-21. 
  8. ^ "Festival de Cannes - Regulations". Festival-cannes.fr. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  9. ^ "Conference of the Jury of 66th Festival de Cannes". Festival de Cannes. 2013. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013. (video unavailable)
  10. ^ "Director Abdellatif Kechiche: Why I'm Selling My Palme d'Or (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-01-21. 
  11. ^ "A brief history of the Palme d'Or - Festival de Cannes 2013 (International Film Festival)". Festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. 
  12. ^ Xan Brooks (25 May 2014). "Cannes festival ready for shut-eye after Winter Sleep wins Palme d'Or". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Lodge, Guy; Gleiberman, Owen (22 May 2016). "Cannes: Ken Loach Wins His Second Palme d'Or for 'I, Daniel Blake'". Variety. Retrieved 27 June 2017. 
  14. ^ "A Honorary Palme at the opening ceremony of the Festival de Cannes". Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "Director Agnes Varda to receive honorary Palme d'Or". Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "AGNÈS VARDA TO RECEIVE HONORARY PALME D'OR". Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  17. ^ Szalai, Georg. "Cannes: Jean-Pierre Leaud to Get Honorary Palme d'Or". Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  18. ^ Richford, Rhonda (19 May 2017). "Cannes: Jeffrey Katzenberg Feted With Honorary Palme d'Or". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 May 2017. 

External links