2024 Cannes Film Festival: Sean Baker’s “Anora” Honored With Palme d’Or

Sean Baker at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, France in May 2024
Sean Baker at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, France in May 2024. Photo by David Fisher/Shutterstock (14506447o)

We can always count on the Cannes Film Festival to bring some amazing new films our way, and this year’s edition was an embarrassment of riches. The main competition jury led by Greta Gerwig eventually picked Sean Baker’s Anora as this year’s Palme d’Or winner.

Directed by the acclaimed filmmaker behind such indie classics as The Florida Project and Red Rocket, Anora centers on the NYC exotic dancer whose elopement to the son of a Russian oligarch quickly turns sour after his parents decide to force an annulment.

Main competition jury president Greta Gerwig admitted it wasn’t easy to pick a winner because this year’s selection was an embarrassment of riches. They eventually decided to go with Anora because it’s an “incredibly human and humane film that captured our hearts.”

Anora is quite a success for its distributor Neon, and it marks its fifth Palme d’Or winner in a row, following the triumph of Parasite, Titane, Triangle of Sadness, and Anatomy of a Fall. It’s also the first American film since The Tree of Life in 2011 to walk away with this prize.

Anora writer/director Sean Baker described his win in Cannes as his “singular goal as a filmmaker for the past 30 years.” He used his powerful speech to raise awareness about the future of cinema, encouraging other filmmakers to make feature films intended for theatrical exhibition.

FULL LIST OF WINNERS AT THE 2024 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL:

Palme d’Or
Anora, dir: Sean Baker

Grand Prize
All We Imagine as Light, dir: Payal Kapadia

Jury Prize
Emilia Perez, dir: Jacques Audiard

Best Director
Miguel Gomes, Grand Tour

Special Prize
Mohammad Rasoulof, The Seed of the Sacred Fig

Best Actor
Jesse Plemons, Kinds of Kindness

Best Actress
Emilia Perez ensemble: Adriana Paz, Zoe Saldana, Karla Sofia Gascon, Selena Gomez

Best Screenplay
The Substance, Coralie Fargeat

Camera d’Or
Armand, dir: Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel

Special Mention
Mongrel, dir: Chiang Wei Liang

Short Film Palme d’Or
The Man Who Could Not Remain Silent, dir: Nebojsa Slijepcevic

Special Mention
Bad For a Moment, dir: Daniel Soares