Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Mexican takeover: Alejandro Inarritu to lead 2019 Cannes jury

Announcement follows big Oscar wins for Alfonso Cuaron and six years of Mexican Oscar dominance

Alejandro Inarritu, right, with The Revenant star Leonardo DiCaprio. Valerie Macon / AFP photo
Alejandro Inarritu, right, with The Revenant star Leonardo DiCaprio. Valerie Macon / AFP photo

Mexican cinema’s purple patch continued today with the naming of Birdman director Alejandro Inarritu as president of the Cannes Film Festival jury.

Pierre Lescure, the president of the festival, and Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director, described Inarritu in a joint statement as “not only a daring filmmaker and a director who is full of surprises [but] also a man of conviction, an artist of his time.”

Inarritu, who won back-to-back Best Director Oscars for Birdman and The Revenant in 2015 and 2016, will be the first Mexican artist to chair the panel.

epa07400509 (FILE) Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu poses during the photocall for 'Carne y Arena' (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible) at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, 22 May 2017 (reissued 27 February 2019). Inarritu will preside the Jury of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, which will take place from 14 to 25 May 2019. EPA/IAN LANGSDON *** Local Caption *** 53536472
Alejandro Inarritu poses during the photocall for 'Carne y Arena' (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible) at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, in May 2017.EPA

He has a long history with Cannes, starting with his debut feature, Amores Perros, in 2000, and most recently attended in 2017 with his critically acclaimed virtual reality experience, Carne y Arena. Incidentally, Carne y Arena received the first Special Achievement Academy Award to be handed out since 1995, when John Lasseter was recognised for the First Computer Animated Full Length Feature film for Toy Story.

“Cannes is a festival that has been important to me since the beginning of my career,” Inarritu said in a statement. “I am humbled and thrilled to return this year with the immense honour of presiding over the jury.”

He added: “Cinema runs through the veins of the planet, and this festival has been its heart. We on the jury will have the privilege to witness the new and excellent work of fellow filmmakers from all over the planet. This is a true delight and a responsibility that we will assume with passion and devotion.”

Inarritu's elevation to the head of the Cannes jury follows hot on the heels of three Academy Award wins for his countryman Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma at the 2019 Oscars., It also comes at a time when Mexican directors, including Inarritu and Cuaron with two each, and countryman Guillermo Del Toro, have picked up five of the last six years’ Best Director Oscars.

Updated: February 27, 2019 05:02 PM

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