The official Cannes Festival awards are always preceded by the announcement of prizes for the films which screened in two other Cannes selections.
- The Ecumenical Jury Prize was awarded to Looking for Eric by British director Ken Loach, with a Special Mention for The White Ribbon, by Austrian Michael Haneke. Both films screened in Competition. Looking for Eric was chosen "for its great artistic value and humorous, optimistic, and humanistic approach to a contemporary society in crisis," stated the jury, adding "The White Ribbon prompts us to be ever vigilant about the symptoms of our personal violence, which also paves the way for social and political violence." The Ecumencial Jury is a six-person panel of journalists, priests, theologians, researchers, etc. from a broad spectrum of Christian faiths and different cultures and countries. Created in 1974 for the purpose of acknowledging works "with human qualities touching upon the spiritual dimension of existence," it was chaired this year by filmmaker Radu Mihaileanu.
- The 28th Prix de la Jeunesse/Youth Prize was awarded to Kynodontas (Dogtooth) by Yorgos Lanthimos, which screened in the Certain Regard selection. Created in 1982 by the French Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Associations, the Prix de la Jeunesse is given to emerging filmmakers by a jury of young people with the intention of "looking at cinema with new eyes and going forth to discover as-yet unknown authors and films."
- FIPRESCI Jury (International Federation of Film Critics) Award: The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke, presented in Competition. It also awarded a special distinction to the Certain Regard film Police, Adjective by Corneliu Porumboiu. Finally, the FIPRESCI prize for films in the parallel Critics Week and Directors Fortnight sections went to Amreeka by Cherien Dabis.
- The Prix de l'Education Nationale, awarded by the French Ministry of Education, is a yearly distinction granted to a film with outstanding cinematographic and educational interest and artistic qualities. This year's laureate is White Ribbon by Michael Haneke, presented in Competition. The jury for the Prix de l'Education nationale is made up of members of the educational and filmmaking communities (six teachers, two students, and two film-industry professionals). Actress Anne Alvaro presided the 2009 jury.
- At Directors Fortnight (La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs), the Art Cinema Award, judged by a jury of independent art-house operators; the SACD Prize, which is awarded by the French authors-rights management society and for which only French-language features are eligible, and the 7th "Regards Jeunes," given to a director for his or her first or second feature-length film, all rewarded a single effort: I Killed My Mother by Canadian Xavier Dolan.
Art Cinema Special Mention: La Merditude des Choses ("The Shittiness of Things") by the Belgian Félix van Groeningen.
The Europa Cinema Prize, awarded by movie-theater operators to the best European film in the Fortnight: La Pivellina, by Austrians Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel,
SFR Prize for Best French Short: Montparnasse by Mikhaël Hers.
- Critics Week ("La Semaine Internationale de la Critique") awards:
Le Grand Prix de la Semaine Internationale de la Critique, awarded to ground-breaking films which are debut or second features: Adieu Gary by Nassim Amaouche (France).
SACD (Société des Auteurs Compositeurs Dramatiques) Prize: Lost Persons Area by Caroline Strubbe (Belgium/Netherlands/Hungary).
The ACID/CCAS Support Award, from French independent-film distributors; the OFAJ/TV5 Monde (Very) Young Critic Award; and the "Regards Jeunes," judged by seven young European cinephiles invited by the French Ministry of Youth Affairs, were all awarded to a single feature: Whisper with the Wind by Shahram Alidi (Iraq).
Grand Prix Canal + for Best Short Film: Slitage, by Patrick Eklund (Sweden)
Kodak Discovery Award for a Short Film: Logorama by François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy, and Ludovic Houplain.
- The 2009 France Culture Cinema Prize, offering recognition to a filmmaker for his/her body of work and commitment, was awarded to screenwriter-director François Dupeyron. The honors were bestowed by a Jury headed by actress Sandrine Bonnaire. A grateful François Dupeyron stated, "Filmmakers have a big responsibility when they permeate the spirit of their audiences…And that is why I refuse to make violent films.”
- The Prix François-Chalais 2009 was awarded to Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi for Kasi Az Gorbehaye Irani Khabar Nadareh (No One Knows About Persian Cats), a documentary fiction on Iranian youth in search of freedom. This prize, created in 1997 and named for the great film critic and reporter François Chalais, is awarded yearly at Cannes to a humanistic film engaged with current world issues.