10 Living Filmmakers Who Never Won Palme d’Or (But Should)

6. Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold is a filmmaker, whose films, seem to enchant everyone. When someone has made only four feature films and has been nominated for Palme d’Or for the three of them, can be seen as a big deal. Red Road (2006), Fish Tank (2009) and American Honey (2016) are films that can speak to one’s heart.

Unfortunately, in our times this is not a common thing. Arnold is definitely an inspired filmmaker and no one can deny that she has much to give to cinema and why not win one of the biggest honours, Palme d’Or.


7. Hirokazu Koreeda

It can be said that Koreeda’s works reflect the contemplative style and pacing of such luminaries as previously referred Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Tsai Ming-liang. His films are known as gentle dramas impregnated by inner humanity and “intelligent” realism. Obviously affected from Ozu’s cinema, Koreeda provides emotional honesty and remains a strong reference of the Japanese industry, although he has been criticised by some, for the “lack of velocity” in his movies.

With regard in his career, Koreeda’s film Like Father, Like Son (2013) was nominated for Palme d’Or at the 66th Cannes Film Festival. It won the Jury Prize and a commendation from the Ecumenical Jury too. His other film Our Little Sister (2015) was also selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 68th Cannes Film Festival. Last but not least, After the Storm (2016) debuted to critical acclaim at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard category.

Koreeda’s interest and sensibility about important issues, like the absence in families, combined with his unique view on film, should absolutely give him the opportunity to be awarded with Palme d’Or. It is certain that the antagonism is great, but Koreeda should at least once, have been honoured with the biggest prize of the Festival.


8. Jim Jarmusch

Yeah, yeah, he has won Palme d’Or for Best Short Film for Coffee and Cigarettes III (1993), but what about the “big shot” prize? Jarmusch is considered to be one of the most important, independent American filmmakers of all time.

Also known for his professional “altruism”, he is regarded by most of his co-workers as a good partner and not an obsessive tyrant with a massive ego like most directors of his class. Jarmusch himself has said: “I’m the navigator of the ship, but I’m not the captain, I can’t do it without everyone’s equally valuable input.”

His politically Left ideas, which are often inherent in his films, seem to be the main reason why he is never even been nominated by the always politically affected American Academy. However, his presence at the Cannes Festival has been pretty frequent since 1984 and his Golden Camera win for Stranger Than Paradise (1984).

He has been nominated seven times for Palme d’Or for movies such as Down by Law (1986), Dead Man (1995) or the most recent Patterson (2016). Jarmusch is undeniably a great, but one of the most “underprivileged” filmmakers of this list. Palme d’Or has the reputation of the most-difficult-to-win prize and Jarmusch is definitely one of the reasons.


9. Mathieu Kassovitz

Kassovitz is famous for his rich acting career, but it wouldn’t be right to oversee his, let us say, more substantial directorial path. The 58th Cannes Festival hosted, as always, films of excellence in a great year for French cinema. Jeanne Moreau’s jury preferred Kusturica’s Underground (1995) when it came to give Palme d’Or.

However, it could be argued that Kassovitz’s La Haine (1995) was probably the most deserving winner of that year. La Haine, a film which mixes social realism with a cinematic flair for beauty in the most unexpected places, has passed down history as one of the most scandalously overlooked films.

On the other hand, Kassovitz won the Best Director award that year, but his film, without denial, eclipsed its winning competitor. Kassovitz has been nominated one more time for Palme d’Or for his Assassin(s) (1997) and he has also won Perspectives du Cinéma Award for his work on Cauchemar blanc (1991). We hope that he will come back to creating great films and, at last, fairly stand on the biggest step of cinema.


10. Matteo Garrone

There are those who believe that Matteo Garrone should be in Hollywood. In fact most believe that the Italian director should have been there since 2008, when he released his film Gomorrah. That movie was a triumphant, symphonic epic about the Camorra organised crime syndicate of Naples. The acclaim was loud and instant. By the time the film was released in the US, it came “presented by” one of its keenest admirers, Martin Scorsese.

Of course, Gomorrah was nominated for Palme d’Or in the 61st Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prize of the Jury. Garrone was also nominated for Palme d’Or for his films Reality (2012), which won the Grand Prize of the Jury too, and Il racconto dei racconti (2015). His filmic variety has made him a distinguished filmmaker who has always new interesting things to offer. As he has said : “I like to work in a new genre and to betray another”.

Until now, it seems that, in a way, Cannes have “punished” him for these betrays. Can he “answer” back with an indisputable favourite for Palme d’Or? The only answer: he can.

Author Bio: Alexandros Rellos is currently a film student in Greece. He has written and directed three short films and dreams that one day cinema will respond to his hopeless love.