The 2016 Cannes Film festival came to a glittering close tonight, as the stars took to the Red Carpet for the last time. Inside the Grand Theatre Lumiere – where were not, sadly – the best and brightest of the festival gathered to find out who would win the awards for acting, directing, as well as he coveted Palme D’Or; the highest honour at the festival.

Actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, whose film ‘The Death Of Louis XIV’ is also screening at the festival was honoured with the honorary Palme D’Or, joining the ranks of previous winners Agnés Varda, Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and Bernadro Bertolucci, among others.

There were several surprises on the night, with the award for Best Director being shared between two filmmakers, the director of the silver medal [Grand Prix] bursting into tears, and films that seemed unpopular on the Croisette winning awards.

Mel Gibson – on hand for his film ‘Blood Father’, screening at the Midnight Screenings section of the Festival, as well as interviews with us! – reunited on stage with his ‘Mad Max’ director and Jury President George Miller to present the Palme D’Or to Ken Loach for his heartbreaking and compelling film ‘I, Daniel Blake’. This is Ken Loach’s second time taking home the coveted Palme D’Or, the first being in 2006 for ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’.

Speaking in French, on accepting his award, Ken Loach said “The festival is very important for the future of cinema. Stay strong please.” Before going on to make political statements about the subject of the film, saying “To receive this is, in this situation, is very strange for us. We remember the people who inspired this. The people who found food for those would otherwise be hungry in the fifth richest nation in the world. We remember them.”

The Jury Prize went to Andrea Arnold for her film ‘American Honey’. One of three women with films in competition at the festival, ‘American Honey’ has divided critics, and was certainly one of the most talked about films of the festival. Arnold accepted the award, saying “When I’m happy I want to dance. When we made the film it was such a team effort, there was a lot of love and a lot of adventure. Thank you to Cannes, and the cast”

Jury member Mads Mikkelsen handed out the award for Best Actress to a visibly shocked Jaclyn Jose for her role in ‘Ma’Rosa’. Jose was charmingly flustered when accepting her award, saying “I don’t know what to say. I am so surprised. I just wanted to have the red carpet walk with my daughter. Thank you Cannes. Thank you so much, thank you to the jury, thank you to Mr Brilliante Mendosa; I was just following whatever he was saying’. Jose also dedicated her award to the people of the Phillipines.

The rest of the winners are below…
Grand Prix – ‘It’s Only the End of the World’ by Xavier Dolan
Best Director – Cristian Mungiu for ‘Graduation’ and Olivier Assayas for ‘Personal Shopper’
Best Actor – Shahab Hosseini for ‘The Salesman’

Elsewhere at the Festival, the Un Certain Regard Awards were also handed out. All the winners are below…

Prize of Un Certain Regard
‘The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki’ by Juho Kuosmanen

Jury Prize
‘Harmonium’ by Fukada Kôji

Prize for Best Director
Matt Ross for ‘Captain Fantastic’

Prize for Best Screenplay
Delphine Coulin & Muriel Coulin for ‘The Stopover’

Un Certain Regard Special Prize
‘The Red Turtle’ by Michael Dudok de Wit

The winner of the Queer Palm was also announced today, with ‘Les Vies de Therese’ – screening at Director’s Fortnight – and the short film ‘Gabber Lover’ sharing the prize.

And that’s it for another year. The Cannes Film Festival 2016 has come to an end with lots of surprises at the awards for the main competition of the festival. We are exhausted after 10 days of nonstop films, sunshine and movie stars, so we are headed out of the Palais for the last time in 2016 to pack, sleep and head for home. Thank you Cannes!

Words: Brogen Hayes