"The Square", Joaquin Phoenix, Diane Kruger take top prizes at Cannes

However, Smith expounded that together with fellow jury member Park Chan-wook, both are pitching Cannes chiefs Thierry Fremaux and Pierre Lescure on a coalition at the festival that will spotlight films "by women, people of color and communities that don't have access to this vibrant community" said Smith.

Barbara, a biopic about the eponymous 1960s French singer, also won a commendation, while Jasmine Trinca won best actress for her performance as a young divorced mother in Italian drama Fortunata.

Kidman, who appeared in four different projects at the French Riviera festival, accepted a special anniversary award from the jury with a video message from Nashville, Tennessee. The festival celebrated its 70th edition this year. The period drama, a remake of Clint Eastwood's 1971 film of the same name, stars Colin Farrell as a wounded soldier during the American Civil War, featuring alongside Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning.

Triple Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix won best actor for playing a traumatised hitman in Lynne Ramsay's ultra-violent "You Were Never Really Here".

Similarly, Diane Kruger's first German-language production (Fatih Akin's In The Fade) was deemed the Jury's Best Actress prize. The Jury Prize was given to Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev for "Loveless".

Critics hailed the movie by writer-director Ruben Ostlund as "high-wire cinema" that veers between comedy and thriller with moments of pure surrealism, though some said it could easily have shed part of its 2 hours and 22 minutes running time.

Although the often hilarious film which sends up political correctness was well received, even director Ruben Ostlund was shocked by the award, shouting: "Oh my God, oh my God!" The film is being described as her most feminist work to date. He said his leather shoes had been flown ahead of him. Honestly, if this does not fuel you to power through this workweek, I don't know what will!

Directed by Robin Campillo, the co-screenwriter of the Palme d'Or-winning film "The Class", the movie centers on the activist group ACT UP in Paris in the 1990s during the AIDS crisis.

Her fellow juror, German director Maren Ade, whose film Toni Erdmann went home empty-handed from Cannes a year ago in spite of being a critical favourite, echoed the need for more female filmmakers to be seen and celebrated.

The jury deliberations for the 70th Cannes Film Festival winners were "devoid of violence" joked this year's president Pedro Almodovar.

Does that suggest a possible Palme d'Or?

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