During Cannes' closing ceremony, the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, was awarded to Sean Baker's film Anora; however, the first Palme d'Or of the year was actually presented 11 days prior, when Meryl Streep was feted with an Honorary Palme d'Or during the opening ceremony of the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

Streep, the three-time Oscar-winning actress who last appeared on the Croisette to premiere 1988's Evil Angels (for which she won Cannes' Best Actress award), joins the likes of Agnès Varda, Jane Fonda, and Harrison Ford as Honorary Palme d'Or recipients; this year's honorees also included George Lucas and Studio Ghibli, the latter marking the first time that the recognition was given to a group.

Streep was presented with her Honorary Palme d'Or on Tuesday, May 14, arriving onstage at the Grand Théâtre Lumière to a standing ovation that lasted more than two minutes. Juliette Binoche, who was on hand to introduce the "international treasure," emotionally told Streep, "You changed the way we look at cinema."


"I'm so grateful to receive this honor from this great artist and from you all," Streep began her acceptance speech. "This prize is unique in the world of cinema, and I'm very, very honored to receive it."

After paying special thanks to her longtime agent, Kevin Huvane, and her hair and makeup stylist, J. Roy Helland who "is responsible for almost every single one of the characters that I have ever played in the last half century" Streep looked back on the length of her career, as presented in a retrospective clip package.

"For me, watching those clips, it's like looking out the window of a bullet train, watching my youth fly into my middle age, right onto where I am standing on this stage tonight. So many faces and so many places that I remember 35 years ago when I was here for the first time. I was already a mother of three, I was about to turn 40, and I thought that my career was over. That was not an unrealistic expectation for actresses at that time. And the only reason that I'm here tonight and that it continued is because of the very gifted artists with whom I've worked, including Madame La President," she said, gesturing to jury president Greta Gerwig, who directed Streep in 2019's Little Women. "And to you, every one of you in the audience, because I'm just so grateful that you haven’t gotten sick of my face and you haven't gotten off the train."

"My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: 'Meryl, my darling, you'll see. It all goes so fast. So fast.' And it has, and it does," Streep concluded. "Except for my speech, which is too long. Thank you. Thank you for this wonderful honor."

Studio Ghibli vice president Kenichi Yoda and head of creative development Gorō Miyazaki.

On Monday, May 20, the legendary Studio Ghibli was presented with its Honorary Palme d'Or during a special ceremony, making history in the process. "For the very first time, Iris Knobloch and I decided to awarded the Honorary Palme d'Or to a studio, rather than a single creative," festival director Thierry Frémaux said in his opening remarks. "And what a studio!"

Hayao Miyazaki, who co-founded the studio in 1985, was unable to appear in person but recorded a humorous video expressing his gratitude to Cannes for the honor. His son, From Up on Poppy Hill and Tales from Earthsea director and Ghibli head of creative development Gorō Miyazaki, collected the trophy on the studio's behalf.

"When we won the Oscar for The Boy and the Heron, the Ghibli representatives came home with a statue, but it wasn't in a box. They had to wrap it in a hotel towel to transport it back," the younger Miyazaki joked. (Earlier this year, The Boy and the Heron won Best Animated Feature Film at the 96th Oscars.) "I'm very glad to see this Palme is nicely packaged!"

"More seriously, Studio Ghibli was created 40 years ago by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Tokuma Shoten," said Gorō Miyazaki. "In those 40 years, we have made a lot of films, but we also constructed the Ghibli Museum and the new Ghibli Park. Of course, the three founders have been the biggest contributors to the studio but I would like to hold this award up to the many staff on the team who work for us. And this award is for everyone who loves our movies, we would like to express our thanks to all Ghibli fans... Thank you, and we look forward to the next 40 years!"


The year's final Honorary Palme d'Or was awarded to Lucas during Cannes' closing ceremony on Saturday, May 26. Following a standing ovation of his own, the filmmaker behind American Graffiti and Star Wars was presented the honor by Francis Ford Coppola. "How exceptional it is to be here to celebrate the imagination, the persistence, and success of your own kid brother," Coppola said onstage. "Congratulations, George. Not only am I and your many friends proud of you, but also the whole world is proud to honor you."

"I didn't expect this," Lucas said. "He's a great friend, and a big brother, and a mentor. I thank him for everything he's ever done for me."

The director reflected on first attending Cannes with his feature debut, THX 1138, which was screened in the Directors' Fortnight in 1971. (Coppola was an executive producer on THX 1138.) "It was pouring rain, and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. We had to sneak into the movie," he recalled. "So, this is a great circle. I can't thank all of you enough, because I'm just a kid that grew up in a vineyard in Modesto, California."

"It's a real honor to be here. It's a real honor, I tell you," Lucas concluded. "Thank you so much."


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