Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg has been named head of the feature films jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The panel is responsible for deciding the coveted Palme d’Or for best film, among other awards.
Spielberg is due some recognition from Cannes, having won best screenplay for his first big-screen movie The Sugarland Express in 1973 but not having been nominated since.
Spielberg, 66, called his selection an “honour and a privilege”, saying “My admiration for the steadfast mission of the Festival to champion the international language of movies is second to none.
“For over six decades, Cannes has served as a platform for extraordinary films to be discovered and introduced to the world for the first time.”
Speilberg has made a total of 27 films during his 40-year career, with his latest movie Lincoln nominated in 12 categories at this year’s Academy Awards, winning best actor for Daniel Day Lewis.
Cannes organisers said Spielberg’s work spanned a wide range of genres “between entertainment films and serious reflections on history, racism and the human condition”.
Thierry Fremaux, who sits on the festival committee, said of Spielberg: “Because of his films, and the many causes he holds dear, he is year-in, year-out the equal of the very greatest Hollywood filmmakers. We are very proud to count him among us.”