The Palme d’Or is one of the most prestigious awards a movie can get, but the process of choosing the prize’s winner each year is not so well-known. The highest honor of the annual Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d’Or was established in 1955. Every year, a handful of movies are chosen to take part in the festival’s competition, and these titles, submitted from all over the world, generally end up being among the most discussed works among film critics and other cineaste circles.

Any movie awarded the Palme d’Or secures a place in film history, as getting into the competition itself is already a tough task. Popular Palme d’Or winners include Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, and Parasite, the last of which went on to win Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards. However, different from the Oscars where thousands of members vote on the top award, the Palme d’Or’s process is much more versatile, and it’s nearly impossible to predict a winner.

Related: How Movies Get Nominated For Oscars

Members Of A Jury Select A Winner

Spike Lee Presents The Palme d'Or

Members of the jury of Cannes’ Official Selection pick a single movie in competition to receive the reputable Palme d’Or. The Cannes Film Festival is divided into different sections that include the main competition, Un Certain Regard, which includes experimental styles and non-traditional narratives, and even the Palm Dog Award, which honors the top canine performances onscreen. Another recurring aspect of the festival concerns the audience reception, where the longest standing ovations at Cannes might indicate the films people liked the most.

Before the Palme d’Or, the Grand Prix was the highest award in the Cannes Film Festival. The honor still exists but is currently jointly awarded, followed by the Jury Prize and then traditional categories such as Best Director, Best Screenplay, and so on. A Palme d’Or winner can never receive any of the other prizes because it’s the movie that comprises the best achievement in all categories.

Cannes’ Jury Changes Every Year

Tarantino and his Palme d'Or

Members of Cannes’ official jury are invited by the same selection committee that chooses the movies, and similar to the competition, it changes every year. The jury is led by a president, normally a hand-picked actor or filmmaker, and is made up of a range of diverse international artists, offering different perspectives in each edition and constant transformation — many movies that were booed at Cannes even tend to age like fine wine. Artists who have participated as members of the Cannes jury and chosen the Palme d’Or include actors Will Smith and Jessica Chastain and directors Spike Lee and David Cronenberg.

More: How To Win an Oscar: A History of Awards Campaigning

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