This award is the highest prize awarded at Cannes, given to the top film presented at that year’s festival. It is also widely regarded as one of the most prestigious honors to be granted in the entire film industry.
From 1946-54 and again from 1964-74, the top film was awarded as the ‘Grand Prix du Festival International du Film.’ In the years in between and since 1974, it has been the Palme d’Or that has been given out as the top prize.
The number of films to win the Palme d’Or
Despite this being the 71st Cannes, the Palme d’Or given out today will be the 91st in the history of the festival. This is because there have been years with multiple winners, as well as years where the award was not given out.
The Palme d’Or was not given out at the 1947 Festival. It was unable to be given in 1968 as that year’s festival had to be canceled early due to the May 1968 events in France. There have also been multiple years (1951, 1952, 1961, 1966, 1972, 1973, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1993, 1997) in which two films were award with the top prize.
Then there is the 1939 winner, which was awarded retroactively at the 2002 Festival. That is because that year was supposed to be the first Cannes Festival but it never took place due to World War II breaking out. Finally, there is the 1946 Festival which saw 11 films take home the top prize since each country took home its own ‘Grand Prix’ due to the diplomatic tone of the event just after the war.
Palme d’Or winners and Best Picture and Director
Out of the 16 films to have won the Palme d’Or and be nominated for ‘Best Picture’, only two (12.5%) have won. These two films are The Lost Weekend (1946 Cannes) and Marty (1955).
Out of the 18 films to have won the Palme d’Or and be nominated for ‘Best Director’, only three (16.66%) have won. They are Billy Wilder (The Lost Weekend), Delbert Mann (Marty) and Roman Polanski (The Pianist, 2002 Cannes).
Palme d’Or winners and Best Adapted and Original Screenplay
Out of the 20 films to be nominated 12 were for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ and eight were for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay.’ Eight (40%) of these films won, with three winning for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ and five winning for Best Adapted Screenplay.’
The ‘Best Orignal Screenplay’ winners were A Man and a Woman (1966), The Piano (1993) and Plup Fiction (1994). Meanwhile, the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ winners were The Lost Weekend, Marty, MASH (1970), Missing (1982) and The Pianist.
Palme d’Or winners and Best Actor and Actress
Out of the eight films to have won the Palme d’Or and have a nominee for ‘Best Actor’, three (37.5%) have won. The winners are Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend), Ernest Borgnine (Marty) and Adrien Brody (The Pianist).
Out of the six films to have won the Palme d’Or and have a nominee for ‘Best Actress’, only one (16.66%) has won. That was Holly Hunter (The Piano).
Palme d’Or winners and Best Supporting Actor and Actress
Out of the five films to have won the Palme d’Or and have a nominee for ‘Best Supporting Actor’, none have won the award. For the eight films to have won the Palme d’Or and have a nominee for ‘Best Supporting Actress’, there has only been one (12.5%) winner. That was Anna Paquin (The Piano).
Other Palme d’Or and Oscars connections
Overall, 14 films have been Palme d’Or winners have been nominated for the Academy Award for ‘Best Foreign Picture’, since it was first introduced in 1956. Five of those nominees ended up winning the award. These films are Black Orpheus (Cannes 1959), A Man and a Woman, Tin Drum (1979), Pelle the Conqueror (1988) and Amour (2012).
Gates of Hell won an ‘Academy Honorary Award’ in 1954, which was often given to the best foreign language film released in the United States prior to 1956. Two films have won the Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for ‘Best Documentary’, The Silent World (1956) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004).
Sources and Info:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palme_d%27Or (used to note each winner and then go to each film to see their accolades).
All other graphs made using Google Spreadsheets