Surprising precisely no-one, Michael Haneke’s universally acclaimed drama Amour has won the 2012 Palme d’Or at Cannes. The honor marks back-to-back wins for the revered filmmaker — pictured above recreating a cheerful scene from his Piano Teacher with Isabelle Huppert — after his last film, The White Ribbon, took out the prize in 2009. It’s only the second time a director has won the Palme d’Or with successive films, the previous being Bille August in ’88 and ’92.
Perhaps less expected was the Grand Prix (or runner-up) going Matteo Garrone’s Reality, a film which had divided many critics; Ken Loach, meanwhile, proved a reliable favorite, as his comedy The Angels’ Share collected the Prix du Jury (or third place honors).
The American big-hitters — including John Hillcoat’s Lawless, Andrew Dominik’s Brad Pitt-starrer Killing Them Softly and Wes Anderson’s festival opener Moonrise Kingdom — went away empty-handed, as did other films — David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Leos Carax’s Holy Motors — that drew wildly divergent responses.
There was good news for one such loved-and-loathed effort, however, with Post Tenebras Lux winning the festival’s Best Director award for Carlos Reygadas. (The same prize that went to Nicolas Winding Refn for last year’s Drive.)
Mads Mikkelsen was awarded Best Actor for his much-praised performance in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, while Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan shared Best Actress honors for their roles in Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills
Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild — already a smash at Sundance earlier this year — was further vindicated with the director winning Cannes’ Camera d’Or, the major award for first-time filmmakers.
Image credit: Reuters/Regis Duvignau