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Chaos Erupts After Spike Lee Accidentally Announces Who Won Palme D'Or Award Way Too Early At Cannes

Chaos Erupts After Spike Lee Accidentally Announces Who Won Palme D'Or Award Way Too Early At Cannes
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

American film director Spike Lee accidentally ruined the Cannes Film Festival in the funniest way.

The Cannes Film Festival is an annual high-profile event hosted in Cannes, France. The festival previews and awards new movies of all genres from around the world.

In the Cannes festival, as in all movie festivals, there are different tiers of awards given. In Cannes, the highest honor and most prestigious award is called the Palme D'Or or 'Golden Palm.'

The Palme D'Or title was previously held by Bong Joon-Ho's 2019 thriller/comedy Parasite.

During the beginning ceremony of the Cannes festival, Lee was confused by a question and ended up revealing the coveted Palme D'Or award winner, Julia Ducournau's horror/thriller Titane, which was not to be announced until the very end of the event.

Lee, who was serving as the Cannes jury president, was asked a question by French actress and host Toria Dillier. The question, first asked in French, was translated into English for Lee and led to a misunderstanding of the question.

Dillier asked Lee:

"Can you tell me which prize is the first prize?"

The question was intended to ask Lee to reveal the first prize to be awarded chronologically during the ceremony. Lee, unfortunately, misunderstood the question and thought it was asking for which film won the first prize of the entire festival, to which he replied into his microphone:


Watch the video here:

The tweet from CANAL+ shown above translates to:

"We came close to disaster and a somewhat premature announcement of the Palme d'Or"

Titane, the shocking French-Belgian body-horror film that won this year's Palme D'Or, actually made history for being the second woman-directed film to win the prestigious award. It's the first time a woman was the sole recipient of the prize.

The only other time a woman has received the honor of the Palme D'Or was 28 years ago, when New Zealand director Jane Campion won the award for her 1993 film The Piano—though it was shared with male director Chen Kaige.

The She's Gotta Have It director has since addressed his mistake, saying he "messed up, simple as that."

Since his gaffe, Lee has been quoted as saying:

"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."

Luckily for Lee, the festival's panel of judges, directors and host took the slip-up in stride, laughing the whole thing off. In fact, American actress and fellow Cannes juror Maggie Gyllenhall thought Lee's blunder was endearing.

She said:

"(It) was like an injection of humanity into the middle of the ceremony."

The Twitter community shares Gyllenhall's sentiments, viewing Lee's slip-up as a hilarious moment of humanity.

Others were just excited to hear Titane won the award.

Lee, the first Black Cannes jury president, says he's still proud to have served on the jury despite his blunder.

"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 f'king up—this is historic."

Lee may have accidentally revealed the Cannes Palm D'Or winner prematurely, but the festival still ended on a positive note.