Cannes 2013's star power starts with the jury
05:00 AM, May 13, 2013
One clear indication of the Cannes Film Festival’s clout is its behemoth jury presiding over the 10-day festival starting Wednesday.
It starts with jury president Steven Spielberg, a major coup for the festival.
Spielberg will be joined by director Ang Lee, just three months after the two were front and center in the 2013 Oscar race. Both were nominated for best director and had films nominated for best picture (Lee’s Life of Pi prevailed over Spielberg’s Lincoln in the best-director contest).
Joining them on the jury is Christoph Waltz, who won his second Oscar for Django Unchained in February, and Nicole Kidman (best actress Oscar winner for 2002’s The Hours).
“This is an unusually heavyweight jury,” says Anne Thompson, editor at large of Indiewire.com. “And having three Oscar nominees from the previous year on the same jury is also unusual.”
Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux says the group will do justice in awarding the festival’s highest honor, the Palme d’Or.
“We wanted a man like Steven Spielberg to be surrounded by great artists,” says Fremaux. “This is a lovely jury, yes, it is spectacular and glamorous. But it is especially legitimate and unquestionable.”
The jury will sit through daily screenings of all films in competition and debate each on its merits. Nebraska director Alexander Payne sat on the Cannes jury in 2012 and said the discussions never got too heated despite the stakes.
“Even when we disagreed, it was a friendly, collegial atmosphere,” says Payne. “It was a lovely experience.”