“Winter Sleep,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s sprawling, character-rich portrait of a self-absorbed Anatolian hotelier, won the Palme d’Or at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival on Saturday night.
It’s the first Palme but hardly the first award the Turkish auteur has won at the festival: He has twice received the Grand Prix, for 2002′s “Distant” and 2011′s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” while he won best director for 2008′s “Three Monkeys.” “Winter Sleep” is only the second film by a Turkish director to win the Palme, after Yilmaz Guney and Serif Goren’s “The Way” (1982).
“This is a great surprise for me,” Ceylan said when he took the stage, noting that 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema. “I want to dedicate the prize to all the young people of Turkey, including those who lost their lives” over the past year, he said.
The Grand Prix was awarded to Alice Rohrwacher’s semi-autobiographical drama “The Wonders.”
Bennett Miller received the best director award for “Foxcatcher,” his drama about the complex psychological triangle involving Olympic wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz and the Pennsylvania millionaire John du Pont.
“This is quite affirming, and I’m very grateful,” Miller said.
The actress prize went to Julianne Moore for her ferocious turn as a washed-up thesp in David Cronenberg’s Tinseltown satire “Maps to the Stars.” Moore was not present to accept at the ceremony.
Timothy Spall won the actor prize for his performance as the painter J.M.W. in Leigh’s “Mr. Turner.”
“I’ve spent a lot of time being a bridesmaid. This is the first time I’ve ever been a bride, so I’m quite pleased about that,” Spall said in a long, moving acceptance speech. Noting that “this is as much an accolade for Mr. Leigh as it is for me,” Spall reminisced about the time when Leigh’s “Secrets & Lies,” in which he also starred, won the Palme d’Or, at which time he was undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. “I thank God that I’m still here and alive.”
The jury prize was awarded to two films from the competition’s youngest and oldest helmers, respectively: Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Goodbye to Language.” While Godard did not attend the festival, Dolan paid tribute to jury president Jane Campion in an emotional speech, citing her Palme d’Or-winning “The Piano” as one of the first and most influential films he watched as a teenager.
The Camera d’Or for best first film was given to “Party Girl,” a three-way directing debut for French helmers Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis. The film, which opened the Un Certain Regard sidebar, had already received an ensemble acting prize the night before.