By Nicole Goesseringer Muj

Legendary actor Michael Douglas will receive the Honorary Palme d’Or at the 76th Festival de Cannes, in recognition of his brilliant career as well as his engagement for cinema. The festival will pay a tribute to him during the opening ceremony broadcasted live on France 2 and internationally on Brut. Tuesday, May 16. In past years, the prestigious prize was awarded to Forest Whitaker, Agnès Varda, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jodie Foster and Manoel de Oliveira.
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“It is always a breath of fresh air to be at Cannes, which has long provided a wonderful platform for bold creators, artistic audacities and excellence in storytelling. From my first time here in 1979 for The China Syndrome to my most recent premiere for Behind the Candelabra in 2013, the Festival has always reminded me that magic of cinema is not just in what we see onscreen but in its ability to impact people all around the world. After more than 50 years in the business, it’s an honor to return to the Croisette to open the Festival and embrace our shared global language of film.” – Michael Douglas
Douglas first walked the red stairs for the first time on the Croisette at the 32nd Festival de Cannes, with actors Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon, as well as director James Bridges for the presentation of The China Syndrome. Thirteen years later, in 1992, the sulphurous Basic Instinct, by Paul Verhoeven was presented “in competition”. Shaking up the thriller genre, the film was the talk of the Croisette: it propelled Sharon Stone to the rank of international icon and confirmed the power of Michael Douglas’ talent. In 1993, Joel Schumacher’s Falling Down was presented “in competition”, for the American actor’s third participation at the festival. He reappeared on the steps only 20 years later, with Behind the Candelabra by Steven Soderbergh. Transformed, moving and at the apex of his art, Douglas played the famous singer and pianist Liberace. But his history with the Festival de Cannes began long before all this, through his father, Kirk Douglas, a lover of France and its cinema. The latter had marked the history of the festival by presiding over the Jury in 1980. With the strength of his conviction and his character, he awarded the Palme d’Or to Akira Kurosawa and to Bob Fosse for Kagemusha and All That Jazz.

Douglas has inherited his father’s love for motion pictures, the kind of love that gives faith in the power of a film and spurs the desire to defend it body and soul. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Miloš Forman is proof of this; it is his first production in collaboration with Saul Zaentz and it gave him nine Oscar nominations and the film was awarded Best Picture in 1975. He has worked as an actor with the greatest in the industry, such as Robert Zemeckis in Romancing the Stone (1984), Ridley Scott in Black Rain (1989) or Barry Levinson in Disclosure (1994). With Oliver Stone, he won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1987 for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko, a greedy New York broker in Wall Street. The sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was screened “out of competition” at the 63rd Festival de Cannes.

In addition to his valuable contribution to cinema, Douglas advocates multiple causes. In his capacity as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, he has been committed to nuclear disarmament across the world since 1998 and he has also been a longstanding advocate of gun control in the United States.

The Festival de Cannes is honored to pay a vibrant tribute to the career of Michael Douglas and to welcome him at the Palais du Festival.

(Featured image: MovieStillsDB)