Film Forward

Sofia Coppola Is The First Woman In More Than 50 Years To Win This Award At Cannes

And only the second woman in history.

Sofia Coppola just became the second woman in history to win the award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. The last female filmmaker to win the prize was Soviet director Yuliya Solntseva for Chronicle of Flaming Years in 1961.

Coppola, who won an Oscar for writing 2003's Lost in Translation, was awarded this most recent prize for her work on The Beguiled, a remake of a 1971 Civil War-era film which originally starred Clint Eastwood. The new film, which is due for limited release June 23, stars Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, and Nicole Kidman, who was awarded the 70th Anniversary Prize at the festival. Colin Farrell takes on Eastwood's role.

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Coppola was not present at Sunday's ceremony, so her award was accepted by Maren Ade, one of two female directors on this year's jury. Coppola reportedly thanked her parents (her father is Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola) and acknowledged fellow director Jane Campion for being "a role model and supporting women filmmakers." Campion holds a Cannes record of her own as the only female filmmaker to win the Palme d'Or — the festival's highest honor. This year's winner was Swedish film The Square.

The festival is now ahead of the Academy Awards in recognizing female directors. Only one woman has ever won the Oscar for Best Director — Kathryn Bigelow for 2008's The Hurt Locker. Coppola was nominated for the category for Lost in Translation, but didn't win. Considering the positive reviews The Beguiled has received, maybe 2018 will be her year.

Although the director's chair continues to be occupied overwhelmingly by men, there are some in Hollywood who are trying to change that.

The Beguiled star Nicole Kidman, for example, had four projects at Cannes this year, two of which had female directors. She told Variety that she plans to make an effort to work with more women behind the camera. "It's part of my trajectory now — every year I'm going, 'I've got to choose a female to work with,' " she said. "I have a lot of female friends who are directors or trying to be directors. They are there."

(H/T: IndieWire)

Cover image: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

The ways we watch TV and movies have evolved, and it's time for the talent in front of and behind the camera to do the same. Film Forward speaks on the initiatives to diversify the film industry and the stories it tells. New articles premiere every second Thursday of — and throughout — the month.

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