US actress Kirsten Dunst has won the top female acting award in Cannes for her role in "Melancholia," despite the film's director Lars von Trier being banned from the festival.
Dunst emerged from controversy as the winner
Kirsten Dunst won best actress Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival for her portrayal of a depressed woman facing the end of the world in Lars von Trier's apocalyptic "Melancholia."
"Thank you so much for this honor, which is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. And thank you to the Cannes Film Festival for letting it still be in competition," said Dunst.
She also thanked von Trier, who was not allowed within 100 meters (109 yards) of the main festival building where the awards ceremony took place.
Malick's 'The Tree of Life' is a meditative epic starring Brad Pitt
The Danish director was thrown out of the festival for joking earlier in the week that he was a Nazi sympathizer. The 55-year-old filmmaker won the Palme d'Or in 2000 for "Dancer in the Dark."
'Tree of Life' wins best picture
This year's top prize for best picture, however, went to US director Terrence Malick for "The Tree of Life," a story about a Midwestern family in the United States in the 1950s.
"We felt that the size, the importance and the intention [of the film] served to fit the prize," said US actor Robert De Niro, who headed up the nine-person jury.
Belgium's Dardenne brothers and Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan shared the runner-up Grand Prix award for "The Kid with a Bike" and "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia."
German director Dresen won the new filmmaker's prize
Best actor at Cannes went to Jean Dujardin of France for his sparkling performance as a vain but fallen Hollywood star in the silent film "The Artist." Dujardin is one of France's most bankable stars, who made a name for himself in comedy before turning to more serious roles.
Denmark's Nicolas Winding Refn won the best director prize for his high-octane film noir "Drive" about a stuntman who moonlights as a getaway car driver.
German filmmaker Andreas Dresen won the top prize in the festival's new and emerging filmmaker category for his drama, "Halt auf Frei" (Stopped on Track) about a man suffering from cancer who is coming to terms with the prospect of death.
Author: Gregg Benzow (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler