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Spike Lee Addresses Cannes Palme D’Or Gaffe: “I’m The Guy At The End Of The Game Who Misses The Free Throw”

Cannes jury president Spike Lee said he “messed up, simple as that” after accidentally revealing the Palme d’Or winner, Titane, early during tonight’s awards ceremony.

“I’m a big sports fan. I’m like the guy at the end of the game who misses a free throw or a kick. No apologies. The people of Titane said ‘forget about it Spike’, that means a lot to me,” the jury prez commented at the post-event press conference.

Near the beginning of this eve’s ceremony, Lee was confused by a question from the host, French actress Toria Dillier, and prematurely named the Palme winner – watch the clip in our article here.

Fellow jury member Maggie Gyllenhall added that the error “was like an injection of humanity into the middle of the ceremony”, to which Lee retorted that he was expecting to see his face on the cover of the New York Post tomorrow after the gaffe.

This year’s Palme went to a film directed by a woman – Titane director Julia Ducournau – for the first time since Jane Campion won 28 years ago (and even then that award was shared with a male director, Chen Kaige).

The significance of the win is clear, particularly for a festival that has battled representation issues in the past. Cannes also made history this year by having its first black jury president.

“If you look at the jury, there’s great representation by woman, I think that says it right there,” Lee commented. Also on the jury were Jessica Hausner, Mati Diop, Tahir Rahim, Mylene Farmer, Melanie Laurent, Kleber Mendonca Filho and Song Kang-Ho

Hausner added that they had not even mentioned that the film was directed by a woman during their deliberations, but had been happy to award the prize to a female filmmaker.

Also on the Palme winner, Lee added, “Titane is the first film ever where a Cadillac impregnated a woman. That blew my mind. That’s genius and craziness together. And those two things often match up.”

The jury made it clear that it wasn’t an unanimous decision, with several of the members noting that there had been significant differences of opinion before a consensus was eventually reached. “Every person sees a film in a different way,” commented Hausner, who noted that the disagreements had led to the Jury Prize and Grand Prize both being split between two movies.

During the presser, Lee was confused by a question from an Israeli journalist about Nadav Lapid’s Ahed’s Knee, which tied for the Jury Prize. After presumably mixing the movie up with Titane, Lee began to repeat that he admired the bravery of a film where a woman has sex with a Cadillac, but when Mati Diop pointed out the question was about the Israeli movie, he addressed Ahed’s Knee: “That’s a very, very courageous film. It needs to be seen. There are several films in this festival coming from countries where if you say the wrong thing, you’re getting locked up, or worse. We needed to applaud that courage.”

Rounding off the presser, Lee briefly talked about his experience as the Cannes jury prez, “It’s taxing but we’re here because we love cinema. It’s a great honor to be on the jury this year, especially after Covid-19. This is historic – besides me fucking up – this is historic.”

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