Cannes, after all, is not the Oscars. So it's no surprise when the big winners at the chi-chi film festival assume the largely unknown (to us) names of, uh, Lars von Trier and, er, Wong Kar-wai.
Danish director von Trier's modern-day musical "Dancer in the Dark" nabbed the top prize, the Palm D'Or, for best feature as the 53rd Cannes Film Festival closed out its 12-day run Sunday. The film's first-time actress, Icelandic pop diva Bjork, took home the award for best actress.
"Dancer in the Dark" is about a blind Czech immigrant (played by Bjork) who escapes to an imaginary world of musical fantasies.
Another big winner was Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai, whose "In the Mood for Love" won the best actor award for male lead Tony Leung. The film, set in mid-1960s Hong Kong, follows two neighbors who gradually discover that their spouses are having an affair.
Other winners included a best screenplay nod for Neil Labute's "Nurse Betty," starring Renee Zellweger. "Nurse Betty" was the only U.S. film to be singled out for a main Cannes honor.
Here's the complete list of this year's Cannes winners:
Palm d'Or: "Dancer in the Dark" (Denmark/France/Sweden), directed by Lars von Trier Grand prix: "Devils on the Doorstep" (China), directed by Jiang Wen Best actress: Bjork ("Dancer in the Dark") Best actor: Tony Leung ("In the Mood for Love") Special mention: Ensemble of actors in "The Wedding" Best director: Edward Yang ("A One and a Two ...") Best screenplay: John Richards, James Flamberg ("Nurse Betty") Prix du Jury (shared): "Blackboards" (Iran), directed by Samira Makhmalbaf, and "Songs From the Second Floor" (Sweden), directed by Roy Andersson Palm d'Or for short film: "Anino" (Phillippines), directed by Raymond Red Technical Award: Christopher Doyle, Mark Li Ping-bing, William Chang Suk-ping for "In the Mood for Love" Camera d'Or (best first feature): shared by "Djomeh" (Iran), directed by Hassan Yektapanah, and "A Time for Drunken Horses" (Iran), directed by Bahman Ghobadi International Critics' Association Awards: Best film in an Official Section: "Eureka" (Japan), directed by Shinji Aoyama; Best film in a Parallel Section: "A Time for Drunken Horses" Ecumenical Awards: Best Film: "Eureka"; Special prizes: "Fast Food, Fast Women" (U.S.), directed by Amos Kollek, and "Code Unknown" (France), directed by Michael Haneke Fondation Gan Award: (Best feature in Un Certain Regard): "Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her" (U.S.); Special mention: "Me, You, Them" (Brazil)
With the closing night award ceremonies Sunday, the 15th Annual Fort Lauderdale Int'l Film Festival ended with an impressive slate of features, documentaries and short films.
The festival, from Oct. 16-Nov. 12, saw attendance total 54,000 during the 28-day run. The sold-out Opening Night event Nov. 3 started with a conversation with indie filmmaker John Waters, followed by the U.S. premiere of "Il Cielo Cade (The Sky Is Falling)," directed by Antonio and Andrea Frazzi and starring Isabella Rossellini.
The film is about life in a small Tuscany town during the start of the Nazi occupation and won the festival's best foreign language film award.
Two other notable international films screened during the festival were well received. "Coronation," directed by Silvio Caiozzi, was chosen to represent Chile as its Foreign Language Oscar entry and had its U.S. premiere at the festival. The story revolves around a 90-year-old grand dame of the wealthy Santiago family and how the family is deteriorating. Maria Canepa, as the matriarch, won the best supporting actress award at the festival.
The U.S. premiere of "A Time for Drunken Horses," directed by Bahman Ghobadi, was screened to a standing room only audience and was selected as the Foreign Language Oscar entry representing Iran. The film follows a young Kurdish boy and his impoverished family as they fight to survive on the Iran-Iraqi border. It won the festival's Audience Award.
Other award winners were David Mamet's "State and Main," a searing and hysterical look at the making of a big budget film in a small Maine town, which won the best film award. William H. Macy, portraying the director, won the best supporting male award. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to actor Peter Falk and the Spirit of Independent's Award went to Rob Morrow (of "Northern Exposure" fame), whose directorial debut film "Maze," screened at the festival.
The closing night film, "Shadow of the Vampire," played to mixed reactions. The film is a fictional account of the making of the German silent classic "Nosferatu" in which director F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) casts a real-life vampire (Willem Dafoe) as his villain. Although it did not win any festival awards, Dafoe's performance will be watched come Oscar time.
The 15th Annual Fort Lauderdale Int'l Film Festival was sponsored by Broward Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, with special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.