The most important award of the Cannes Film Festival is the Palme d'Or, introduced in 1955 and sometimes shared by various films in one year. At various times, the Palme d'Or was awarded to movie stars and producers from the United States, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Japan.
Among the most celebrated films-award winners are Dancer in the Dark (Denmark, 2000), The Son's Room (Italy, 2001), The Pianist (France, 2002), Elephant (the United States, 2003), Fahrenheit 9/11 (the United States, 2004) and The Child (Belgium, 2005). Other awards granted by the jury of the festival include the Grand Prize, which is the second most prestigious award of the festival.
Starting mainly as a social and tourist event, the Cannes Film Festival has grown to be the most prestigious film competition where almost all the films presented are awarded with a prize.
Due to the significant increase in participants, the festival shifted its orientation, changing from a film forum to a film competition. The first films presented at the festival have been selected by origin or country.
In 1972 the President of the Festival, together with the Board of Directors, decided to select the films for presentation from all over the world. Such a decision was a turning point of the festival.
The creation of Cinefondation in 1998 provided the young talents with the opportunity of being discovered and promoted. Nearly 2000 films from all over the world have competed for selection since its establishment. This has given rise to La Residence du Festival, created to continue the objective of Cinefondation.
Today's success of the Cannes Film Festival was achieved due to the efforts of Pierre Viot, who had been President of the festival during the period 1985-2000, and his successor Gilles Jacob, President of the Festival since 2000. Together, they have succeeded in strengthening the role of the festival as one of the events of international importance where all schools, styles, and genres are vividly represented, and where the main objective is determined as promotion of cinematographic art via film screening or such artistic activities as master classes, exhibitions and concerts. The festival is also known for the balance, which it has established between the artistic quality and commercial side of the films presented.
The 2005 Cannes Film Festival, which ran from May 11-22, featured 20 films from 13 countries. The Palme d'Or was granted to the Belgian film L'Enfant by Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. The Grand Prize went to the film Broken Flowers by Jim Jarmusch.
The jury of the festival included Emir Kusturica, Fatih Akin, Javier Bardem, Nandita Das, Salma Hayek, Toni Morrison, Benoit Jacquot, John Woo, and Agnes Varda. Among the celebrities visiting the festival annually are Woody Allen, Scarlet Johansson, Ewan McGregor, Samuel Jackson, Danny Glover, Tommy Lee Jones, Juliette Binoche, Mickey Rourke, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis and Natalie Portman.