Director Jacques Audiard (C) poses with Sri Lankan actors Kalieaswari Srinivasan (L) and Jesuthasan Antonythasan after being awarded with the Palme d'Or for "Dheepan" during the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 24, 2015
Cannes (France) (AFP) - 19:53 GMT - We are now closing this live report after an emotional night full of surprises at the 68th Cannes Film Festival. Here's a roundup of the main winners:
The coveted Palme d'Or went to "Dheepan" directed by France's Jacques Audiard, a thriller spotlighting the plight of Sri Lankan refugees, including a traumatised former insurgent, as they try to build new lives in France.
The runner-up award, the Grand Prize, went to the Hungarian directed Holocaust drama "Son of Saul", while Taiwan's New Wave master Hou Hsiao-hsien was named Best Director.
Talented, gruff French character actor Vincent Lindon finally picked up a Best Actor award after a long career spanning some 60 films, and in one of the big surprises of the night, Best Actress was split between Emmanuelle Bercot and Rooney Mara.
19:42 GMT - Hou Hsiao-hsien - Asked whether he is disappointed he did not win the Palme d'Or, the best director winner at this year's Cannes festival Hou Hsiao-hsien replies, very deadpan, "the important thing is the film not the prizes".
Hou's "The Assassin" is a slow-burning minimalist drama set in ninth-century China featuring Asian megastar Shu Qi as a female assassin.
19:29 GMT - Coens on picking the Palme d'Or - The Coen brothers, heads of this year's Cannes jury, discuss the decision-making for the Palme d'Or, "Dheepan".
"It was swift, everybody had an enthusiasm for it. To some degree or another we all thought it was a very beautiful movie. We’re different people, some people had greater enthusiasms for other things or lesser, but in terms of this movie, everybody had some level of excitement, some high level of excitement and enthusiasm for it."
19:24 GMT - Palme d'Or: "Dheepan" - A fast-paced, emotionally rich thriller about refugees fleeing the Sri Lankan civil war and seeking to build new lives in France has won this year's Palme d'Or at Cannes.
The picture by acclaimed French director Jacques Audiard tells the story of a former Tamil Tiger fighter who is traumatised by the brutality he has encountered.
The film opens with victims of a massacre burning on a funeral pyre as the man, Dheepan, looks on. Soon after, in a refugee camp, he meets a young woman and a nine-year-old girl. To win passage to France, they assume the identities of a dead family and use their travel papers.
19:16 GMT - Rooney Mara - Director of the lesbian drama "Carol", Todd Haynes, is asked about the surprise pick of Rooney Mara over her co-star Cate Blanchett, who had been the frontrunner for the Best Actress award before the ceremony.
"Both actresses are extraordinary," said Haynes at the press conference. "It's thanks to them that the film works so well. Rooney plays a more discreet role, but essential, which is what the jury recognised."
19:02 GMT - French Pride - France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls took to social media to congratulate the strong French showing at this year's awards, with winners Agnes Varda (Palme d'honneur), Vincent Lindon (Best Actor), Emmanuelle Bercot (Best Actress) and Jacques Audiard (Palme d'Or).
"Memories of a very great performance full of emotion from Emmanuelle Bercot in "Mon roi": Bravo!" he said. "Congratulations to Vincent Lindon for the power of his performance! A film that speaks about the world with subtlety and accuracy. The Palme d'Or for "Dheepan" by Jacques Audiard has awarded a great of French cinema!".
Valls also added a comment for the Hungarian winner of the runner-up Grand Prize, "Son of Saul". It was a film that spoke of the "unbearable reality of the death camps. A Grand Prix to never forget".
18:53 GMT - Being on the jury - Xavier Dolan, a Canadian director prodigy still in his twenties but with a number of feature films already to his name, says being on the jury this year has changed the way he thinks about cinema.
"I have never experienced anything like this before, I have never talked about films with such depth, such generosity, and with such interesting people. Being part of this jury has transformed the way I, as a human being, think about films".
18:49 GMT - Italy unloved - Malian singer and jury member Rokia Traore says they did not take into consideration the country of origin in their prize decisions, as the press conference raises the issue of no Italian films in the final selection. Three Italian directors had films in the Official Competition.
-- Post-ceremony press conference --
18:44 GMT - Support for Best Supporting award - One member of this year's Cannes jury, Spanish actress and Pedro Almodovar favourite Rossy de Palma, says she regrets the absence of a best supporting actor and actress award. "I'm used to playing supporting roles", she says.
18:40 GMT - Choosing the Palme d'Or - At the jury press conference questions are asked on the choice of "Dheepan" for the Palme d'Or. Ethan Coen, co-president of the jury with his brother, says everyone on the jury was very enthusiastic about the film.
18:37 GMT - Two best actresses - France's Emmanuelle Bercot, Best Actress winner for her part in the doomed romance "Mon roi" (My King), paid homage to her co-winner on the night, Rooney Mara who was also recognised for "Carol".
"I am thrilled to share this with another actress because it's a bit too big for me to carry alone," said Bercot, who had opened the 12-day festival with French social drama "Standing Tall", which she directed and co-wrote.
18:26 GMT - Cannes and the Coen brothers - The jury led by Hollywood filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen chose for the Palme d'Or the gritty picture about Sri Lankan asylum-seekers "Dheepan" by acclaimed French director Jacques Audiard among 19 international contenders.
"To receive a prize from the Coen brothers is something pretty exceptional," Audiard said on stage, clutching the trophy.
18:21 GMT - Holocaust drama - "This continent is still haunted by this subject," said Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes, accepting the Grand Prize award at Cannes. His harrowing Holocaust drama "Son of Saul", offers unflinching depictions of the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
18:12 GMT - Gritty Palme d'Or - "Dheepan", directed by Frenchman Jacques Audiard, winner of this year's Palme d'Or, is a French thriller spotlighting the plight of traumatised refugees building new lives.
"I thank Michael Haneke for not making a film this year", joked Audiard about the Austrian director and Cannes favourite in previous years. "I am very touched," he said.
"Dheepan" tells the story of a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and ends up working as a caretaker outside Paris.
18:08 GMT - Tearful leading man - Vincent Lindon was deeply moved as he accepted the Best Actor award at Cannes. Weeping on stage, he said it was the first time he had won an acting award -- having played in some 60 films over his long career -- and he paid homage to the director of "The Measure of Man", Stephane Brize.
"I'm the ambassador of his dreams, his generosity, his professionalism," said Lindon.
Lindon's victory at Cannes will be welcomed by fans since he has never taken home a Cesar -- the French equivalent of the Oscar's -- despite five nominations.
18:06 GMT - PALME D'OR - CANNES AWARDS PALME D'OR TO FRENCH IMMIGRANT DRAMA "DHEEPAN"
18:05 GMT - Taiwan's master - Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-hsien scoops the best director award at Cannes for his slow-burning minimalist martial arts drama "The Assassin".
The 68-year-old is one of the most recognisable names in Taiwan's "New Wave" cinema and his film stars Asian megastar Shu Qi as a female assassin in ninth-century China who is ordered to kill the man she loves.
18:01 GMT - Grand Prize - The Cannes runner-up Grand Prize goes to Holocaust drama 'Son of Saul' directed by 38-year-old Laszlo Nemes, one of the films that had been tipped for the Palme d'Or.
17:57 GMT - Best Director - Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-hsien wins Cannes best director award for 'The Assassin', about a ninth-century Chinese female assassin having to choose between her heart and her mission.
17:52 GMT - Tough drama - Vincent Lindon scoops the best actor award at Cannes for his role in a tough drama about unemployment, "The Measure of Man".
Accepting his award, Lindon dedicates the prize to those people "left to fend for themselves."
Lindon, a former squeeze of Monaco's Princess Caroline, is rarely seen by audiences abroad but will get international attention after this win and his part as a laid-off factory worker desperately searching for a job.
17:48 GMT - Best Actor - France's Vincent Lindon wins Cannes Film Festival's best actor award
17:46 GMT - Surprise choice - The Cannes jury have split the best actress award between the up-and-coming Hollywood star Rooney Mara for her role in Todd Haynes's "Carol", and France's Emmanuelle Bercot for her part in "Mon roi", bypassing bookies' favourite Cate Blanchett.
Mara starred alongside Blanchett in 1950s lesbian love story "Carol" while Bercot in "Mon roi" (My King) plays a woman looking back on a destructive relationship with a deceitful but charming boyfriend.
17:39 GMT - Best actress - Rooney Mara for "Carol" and Emmanuelle Bercot for "Mon Roi" share Cannes best actress award
17:37 GMT - Palme d'honneur - Jane Birkin, British singer, actress and long-time friend of Agnes Varda presents her with the Palme d'honneur, describing the director as "a soldier, a fighter, the only women among the boys of the New Wave".
17:35 GMT - Best Screenplay - The winner of Best Screenplay goes to Mexican director Michel Franco for the film he also directed, "Chronic", about assisted suicide.
17:28 GMT - Standing ovation - One of the original members -- and first woman -- of the French New Wave, Agnes Varda, gets a standing ovation at the closing ceremony in Cannes, as she receives an honorary Palme d’Or this year.
It is the first time the coveted award goes to a woman and has only been given out three times before -- to Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood and Bernardo Bertolucci. It recognises "renowned directors whose works have achieved a global impact but who have nevertheless never won the Palme d’Or".
17:25 GMT - Jury on stage - One by one, the members of this year's Cannes jury, mostly involving star actors and directors and led by the Coen brothers, arrive on stage in the Louis Lumiere theatre.
17:22 GMT - Camera d'or - The Caméra d'or prize, which awards a first feature, goes to the Colombian Cesar Augusto Acevedo for "La Tierra y la sombra" ("Land and Shade").
17:14 GMT - Award for Best Short Film - Lebanese director Ely Dagher and his animated "Waves '98" wins Best Short Film as the first prize to be announced in the evening.
17:07 GMT - Master of Ceremony - French actor Lambert Wilson gives his opening speech as Master of Ceremony for the 68th Cannes Film Festival. He promises everyone will soon be put out of their misery as the winners will be revealed. "The longer the wait, the more important the prize. Or not", he jokes.
-- Awards ceremony opens --
17:00 GMT - Awards ceremony - French actor Lambert Wilson is the Master of Ceremony this year at Cannes. He gives his opening statements as everyone settles down in their seats for the evening's awards.
16:55 GMT - End of red carpet arrivals - The famed walk up the "Grandes Marches" is coming to an end. Among the crowds waiting outside, our AFP reporter Julie Pacorel-Mouttet finds a slight mood of disappointment as people complain they did not see "really big stars".
16:32 GMT - Frontrunners - There are seven awards going tonight, and the coveted Palme d'or can only go to a single film. Among the frontrunners for the top prize are two very different films: "Carol" and "Son of Saul", both standouts with the critics and audiences during the festival.
US director Todd Haynes adapted Patricia Highsmith's novel "Carol" to make a period lesbian romance starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. For "Son of Saul", Hungarian 38-year-old director Laszlo Nemes's first feature is set in a Nazi concentration camp and homes in on one man's ordeal over two days, rather than dealing with the full scope of the tragedy.
16:27 GMT - Jury arrive - The jury for the 68th Cannes Film Festival arrive on the red carpet. The director duo the Coen brothers are heading it this year. Joel Coen calls it "one of the best experiences of my life" but the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, also on the jury, says, "it's odd, artists judging artists".
16:19 GMT - Award hopefuls - Rumours circulating on Sunday that British actor Tim Roth could be up for the Best Actor award for his role in Michael Franco's "Chronic" about assisted suicide, where he plays a nurse in Los Angeles caring for several chronically-ill patients.
16:15 GMT - Dheepan - Former Tamil Tiger child soldier Antonythasan Jesuthasan at the festival, star of "Dheepan" directed by Frenchman Jacques Audiard, says "I am so happy and so emotional."
16:05 GMT - Red carpet - Stars have started arriving on the red carpet under grey skies, but the umbrellas have all come down.
Todd Haynes, director of the much-loved "Carol" in contention for the Palme d'Or, arrives, calling it "an amazing week for the movie".
15:40 GMT - WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT on the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival. After nearly a fortnight of stirring, sleek and thought-provoking movies, some duds and controversies, awards night will declare the winner of the coveted Palme d'Or.
The jury is headed this year by US directing duo the Coen brothers and other directors and actors including Guillermo del Toro, Xavier Dolan, Sophie Marceau and Jake Gyllenhaal. They will decide which of the 19 competition entries will walk away with the 20,000-euro ($24,000) gold-and-crystal trophy.
Two runner-up films will also get prizes, along with awards for best director, actor, actress and screenplay.