Sofia Coppola Makes Cannes History As The Second Woman Ever To Win Best Director

"The Beguiled" Photocall - The 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Photo by Getty

There is no denying the inequalities women in the film industry face. From the gaping gender pay gap that exists between male and female co-stars to the lack of recognition for women’s achievements at awards shows, its far tougher to be successful, and noted for it, in Hollywood if you were born with an XX chromosome.

That’s why Sofia Coppola’s win at Cannes is so important. With her gothic thriller The Beguiled, starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst among others, she has become the second ever female filmmaker to win the Best Director in the festival’s 70 year history.

The first woman to win the prize was Yuliya Solntseca in 1961 for her work, The Chronicle of Flaming Years.


Photo by Getty

However, it was Jane Campion that Coppola thanked, in a pre-written speech read out by juror Maren Ade, for “being a role model and supporting other female filmmakers”. Campion remains the only woman ever to have won the Palme d’Or for best film for The Piano in 1993.

The Beguiled is Coppola’s feminist adaption of a Clint Eastwood-starring film released in 1971. Nicole Kidman, who won the 70th Anniversary Prize at Cannes, plays the headmistress of an isolated school for girls in Virginia in 1864. Their pious lifestyle is interrupted when they discover a wounded Union Army soldier, played by Farrell. Though it is adapted from the same book by Thomas P. Cullinan, Coppola’s version swings the focus from the soldier to the lives and relationships of the women around him.

It is set to be released in the UK on 23 June.

Here’s a list of all the winners from Cannes:

  • Palme d’Or: Ruben Östlund – The Square
  • Gran Prix: Robin Campillo – 120 Beats Per Minute
  • Jury Prize: Andrey Zvyagintsev – Loveless
  • Best Director: Sofia Coppola – The Beguiled
  • Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here
  • Best Actress: Diane Kruger – In the Fade
  • Best Screenplay: Yorgos Lanthimos – The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here
  • Camera d’Or: Léonor Sérraille – Jeune Femme
  • Short Film Palme d’Or: Qiu Yang – A Gentle Night
  • Special 70th Anniversary Award: Nicole Kidman
  • 2017 Un Certain Regard winners:
  • Un Certain Regard Prize: Mohammad Rasoulof – A Man of Integrity
  • Best Actress: Jasmine Trinca – Fortunata
  • Best Poetic Narrative: Mathieu Amalric – Barbara
  • Best Direction: Taylor Sheridan – Wind River
  • Jury Prize: Michel Franco – April’s Daughter
  • 2017 International Critics Week winners:
  • Nespresso Grand Prize: Emmanuel Gras – Makala
  • France 4 Visionary Award: Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa – Gabriel and the Mountain
  • Leica Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film: Laura Ferrés – Los Desheredados
  • Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award: Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa – Gabriel and the Mountain
  • SACD Award: Léa Mysius – Ava
  • Canal+ Award: Aleksandra Terpińska – The Best Fireworks
  • 2017 Director’s Fortnight winners:
  • Art Cinema Award: Chloé Zhao – The Rider
  • SACD Award: Claire Denis – Let the Sunshine In, Philippe Garrel – Lover for a Day
  • Europa Cinemas Label Award: Jonas Carpignano – A Ciambra
  • Illy Prize for Short Film: Benoit Grimalt – Back to Genoa City

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