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Spike Lee jumps gun at Cannes with ‘Titane’ Palme d’Or reveal

Published: Updated:

“Titane”, a wildly imaginative film about a serial killer by French director Julia Ducournau, won the top Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday - as revealed by jury head ahead of time Spike Lee in a gaffe at the ceremony.

Ducournau, 37, became only the second woman to win the top award at Cannes.

In a moment of confusion when asked in French to reveal what one of the prizes was, the U.S. film director read off a card and prematurely announced the best movie winner.

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“No excuses, I messed up,” Lee told a news conference after the event. “I’m a big sports fan, it’s like the guy at the end of the game at the foul line, he misses a free throw, or the guy misses a kick.”

It was not the first blooper moment at an awards ceremony: at the 2017 Oscars, musical “La La Land” was incorrectly announced as best movie, instead of “Moonlight”.

Ducournau, 37, became only the second woman to win the top award at Cannes. Her violent film, where the heroine has sex with a car, split critics, with some praising its originality but others put off by its frantic and messy approach.

“Ducournau’s beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy is a nightmarish yet mischievously comic barrage of sex, violence, lurid lighting and pounding music,” critics at the BBC broadcaster said. “It’s also impossible to predict where it’s going to go next.”

Described as a “body horror” movie and based around a character with a titanium plate in her head, the film impressed with its energy.

“I’ve never seen a film in my life.... where a Cadillac impregnated a woman,” Lee said.

Ducournau had previously found critical success with “Raw” in 2016. The only previous female winner of Cannes’ top award was Jane Campion who shared the prize in 1993 for “The Piano”.

The world’s biggest film festival returned to the French Riviera after a 2020 hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic in one of the most unpredictable contests in years.