The Swedish director Ruben Ostlund has won the Palme d’Or twice — first for “The Square” in 2017, then last year for “Triangle of Sadness.” This year, he’s the president of the jury that decides who gets that top prize.
Ostlund told The New York Times that he planned to have “a very Swedish approach when it comes to running the jury,” adding, “It will be a democracy.”
At a news conference on Tuesday, said that the jury didn’t have many rules. “One thing is that this will be the first year in the history of the Cannes Film Festival when the publicists will have no rumors to tell to each other,” Ostlund said.
In Ostlund’s films, which skewer class and social hypocrisies, any character who made a vow like that would wind up doing the opposite. But don’t expect the top prizewinner or any of the other awards to be his choices alone.
He has eight fellow jurors. They include the French director Julia Ducournau, who has just one Palme to Ostlund’s two, having won in 2021 for her genre-bending “Titane.” It was, as that year’s jury president Spike Lee remarked at the time, likely the first film in history in which a Cadillac impregnated the heroine.
Several other jury members are directors with Cannes pedigrees. Damián Szifron, from Argentina, is best known for his comic anthology feature “Wild Tales,” which showed in competition in 2014. The Zambian-born Rungano Nyoni made “I am Not a Witch,” an absurdist story of an orphan accused of witchcraft; it was a favorite of critics when it played in the parallel festival Directors’ Fortnight in 2017. And the Moroccan filmmaker Maryam Touzani was here last year with “The Blue Caftan,” which showed in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section.
Another jury member, Atiq Rahimi, is both a filmmaker and an author. Born in Afghanistan, Rahimi directed film adaptations of his own novels “Earth and Ashes” and “The Patience Stone.” As a book, the latter won the Goncourt Prize, France’s most prestigious literary award.
Cannes always likes to have a bit of Hollywood star wattage on its juries, and this year, the American actors Brie Larson and Paul Dano supply it.
There was a tense moment during Tuesday’s news conference, when a Variety reporter asked Larson if she would watch the festival’s opening film, “Jeanne du Barry,” which stars Johnny Depp, since she has historically been a supporter of #TimesUp.
“You’re asking me that?” Larson said, bristling. Pressed on the issue, she replied, “You’ll see, I guess, if I see it. And I don’t know how I’ll feel about it if I do.”
Rounding out the jury’s thespian contingent is the French actor Denis Ménochet, recently seen as a loopy veteran in “Beau Is Afraid.”
At the news conference Ostlund said: “If I could choose between an Oscar and Palme d’Or, it’s an easy choice. I’d rather have one more than have an Oscar.”
Kyle Buchanan contributed reporting.