With America's most famous filmmaker heading up the jury for the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival, you might expect some pretty impressive names to be among the judges for the world's most prestigious film festival. And you'd be absolutely correct.
Steven Spielberg will be jury president for this year's Cannes Film Festival, which opens May 15 and runs through May 26, and Wednesday morning festival organizers revealed who has been selected for the jury, with the lineup including a few Oscar-winning thespians and internationally celebrated filmmakers.
Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz are two of the actors who will be on the Cannes jury this year. Kidman, who won an Oscar in 2003 for "The Hours," has recently appeared in the critically-acclaimed dramas "Stoker" and "The Paperboy." Waltz picked up his second Academy Award in February for his work in "Django Unchained," having previously won in 2010 for "Inglourious Basterds."
Another two actors will also sit on the jury: French actor Daniel Auteuil, who won Best Actor at the 1996 Cannes Festival for his performance in "The Eighth Day," and Vidya Balan, a popular and well-respected Indian actress who will also appear as part of a salute to Indian cinema.
Several high profile filmmakers will also be judging this year's Cannes entries. Ang Lee, who earned this year's Best Director Oscar for "Life of Pi" (beating out Spielberg, who is presumably a good sport about such things) as well as directing "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," will be on board, as well be Scottish auteur Lynne Ramsay, who was honored at Cannes for her 2002 film "Morvern Callar." Ramsay had some unexpected time on her hands after recently parting ways with the producers of the troubled Natalie Portman western "Jane Got A Gun."
Rounding out the lineup are Cristian Mungiu, a Romanian director who is a previous award-winner at Cannes for his films "Beyond The Hills" and "4 Months, 3 Weeks and Two Days," and Naomi Kawase from Japan, a Cannes honoree for 1997's "Moe No Sazaku" and 2007's "Hanezu."
Cannes Festival president Thierry Fremuax praised this year's jury, telling the press, "We have only one criteria and that is already done for the president - the legitimacy. So for the jury, Steven Spielberg will be the center and we are finishing it with great people. We have a lot of filmmakers coming from all over the world. They need to be sure that those who make the decisions about the awards have their own legitimacy and the respect to do that."
In addition to the main jury, which will present awards to competing feature films, there will also be a secondary jury that will hand out the prizes for short films; this year, it will be headed by Jane Campion, director of "The Piano" and "Portrait of a Lady" as well as a number of acclaimed shorts. Audrey Tautou, the French actress who starred in "Amelie" and "The Da Vinci Code," has been confirmed as host of the opening and closing presentations.