Sean Baker’s “Anora” Walks Away With Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival

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)

Films about female experience were going stronger than ever at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and won some of the festival’s top prizes. Sean Baker’s Anora was one of them, and it was honored with the prestigious Palme d’Or after premiering a rapturous standing ovation at Cannes.

Anora is the tale of the young exotic dancer from New York (Mikey Madison), whose whirlwind romance with the son of a Russian oligarch leads to a quick elopement. Just when she thinks she could have it all, his parents fly to New York to try and annul their marriage.

Anora is the fifth consecutive film to win the Palme d’Or for its distributor Neon, after the success of Parasite, Titane, Triangle of Sadness, and Anatomy of a Fall. It’s also the first American film to be honored with this prize in over a decade, since The Tree of Life in 2011.

Sean Baker’s Palme d’Or acceptance speech was an ode to movie theatres, and he said he’s determined to keep making feature films intended for theatrical exhibition after Anora.

“This literally has been my singular goal as a filmmaker for the past 30 years, so I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. But I do know that I will continue to fight for cinema because right now as filmmakers, we have to fight to keep cinema alive,” said Baker in his speech.

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