CANNES, France — “Winter Sleep” was awarded the Palme d’Or on Saturday, bestowing the Cannes Film Festival’s top honor on an intimate, wintry epic set on Turkey’s Anatolian steppe.
Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan accepted the award, handed out by Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman at the French Riviera festival. In his speech, Ceylan alluded to anti-government protests in Istanbul that began a year ago and have intensified since a recent mining disaster that killed hundreds.
“I want to dedicate the prize to the young people in Turkey and those who lost their lives during the last year,” Ceylan said.
For the second year in a row, Cannes awarded its top honor to a film running more than three hours. Jane Campion, who headed the jury, admitted she was worried about the three hour, 16 minute running time of “Winter Sleep,” about a retired actor running a hotel and lording over his village tenants.
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“I was scared. I said, ‘I’m going to need a toilet break,’ ” she said backstage. But she said the film “took me in,” calling it “masterful” and “ruthless.”
Accepting the award, Ceylan, who has twice won Cannes’ second-highest honor, the Grand Prix, noted it was the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema. “It’s a beautiful coincidence,” he said.
Julianne Moore won best actress for her performance in David Cronenberg’s dark Hollywood satire “Maps to the Stars.” Screenwriter Bruce Wagner accepted the award for Moore and cheered the town he savagely parodies in the film: “Vive Los Angeles. Vive David Cronenberg. Vive Julianne Moore. And vive la France,” he said.
Best actor went to Timothy Spall, who stars as British painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh’s biopic “Mr. Turner.” He spoke emotionally about a long, humble career that has often gone without such notice. “I’ve spent a lot of time being a bridesmaid,” said the veteran character actor. “This is the first time I’ve ever been a bride.”
Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Moneyball”) won best director for his wrestling drama “Foxcatcher,” the American film that made the biggest impact at Cannes. Miller dedicated his award to his stars Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, as well as producer Megan Ellison.
The jury prize was shared by the oddest of couples: Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language.” The two were the oldest (Godard is 83) and youngest (Dolan is 25) directors at the festival.
Alice Rohrwatcher’s “The Wonders,” an Italian drama about a family of beekeepers, was the surprise winner of the Grand Prix. Rohrwatcher was one of two female directors among the 18 films in competition for the Palme d’Or.
“Leviathan,” a tragic satire about small-town corruption in Russia by Andrey Zvyagintsev, took best screenplay.
The Camera d’Or, an award for first-time filmmakers, went to “Party Girl,” a portrait of a 60-year-old nightclub hostess by a trio of directors: Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis.
Most surprisingly absent from Saturday’s awards ceremony was “Two Days, One Night,” the Dardenne brothers’ working-class drama starring Marion Cotillard. The Dardennes have twice before won the Palme d’Or (no one has ever won three).