74th edition | Update : 29.03.22 . 10:26 AM

The 2021 Selection around the world

DRIVE MY CAR by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, the most awarded film from the Cannes 2021 Official Selection

DRIVE MY CAR by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, the most awarded film from the Cannes 2021 Official Selection © DR

As is the case at the beginning of every year, the news is full of stories about nominations and awards given out by the major film academies, and we start to get a picture of which films will dominate the awards season for 2021 films.


Before turning to the 2022 Selection, now is the moment for the Festival de Cannes to look back on the prizes that the 2021 films have already won and to wish the best of luck to all those films in the festivals and ceremonies to come.

Long live the 2020 Selection!

In 2020, while the pandemic made it impossible for the Festival to be held as usual, there was nonetheless a Selection that served to promote these films at various festivals and awards ceremonies. (For more info, see ► The 2020 Official Selection Across the World)


To this day, around a dozen films from this selection continue to distinguish themselves around the world, as can be seen by the recent success at the European Film Awards of Francis Lee's AMMONITE and Steve McQueen's mini-series SMALL AXE, the first two episodes of which - MANGROVE and LOVERS ROCK - featured in the Cannes 2020 Selection. Viggo Mortensen's FALLING and Fernando Trueba's EL OLVIDO QUE SEREMOS (FORGOTTEN WE'LL BE) are nominated for the 2022 Goyas. And Xavier de Lauzanne's 9 JOURS A RAQQA, Samir Guesmi's IBRAHIM and Kamen Kalev's FEBRUARY were all nominated for the 2022 Lumières Awards, where Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh's GAGARINE (GAGARIN) took home the Lumière Award for Best First Film.


More particularly, Jonas Poher Rasmussen's FLEE, winner of four prizes at the European Film Awards, is in the running for the Oscar for both Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature.


A 2021 Selection that has won big

In July 2021, the Festival de Cannes returned to the Croisette. This reunion with cinema featured a historically rich and ambitious programme for the Festival's 74th edition. Its films travelled throughout France, Europe and around the world for the occassion of other festivals (notably Deauville, San Sebastian, Sitges and Toronto, where they were particularly appreciated). To this day, these films have won over 250 awards around the world.


Some recent examples include Julia Ducournau's TITANESebastian Meise's GROSSE FREIHEIT (GREAT FREEDOM), Kira Kovalenko's RAZZHIMAYA KULAKI (UNCLENCHING THE FISTS), Eskil Vogt's THE INNOCENTS and Valdimar Jóhansson's LAMB, all of which triumphed in December at the European Film Awards, taking home six awards in total. And on 10 January, Ryusuke Hamaguchi's DRIVE MY CARthe most decorated film from Cannes 2021, added a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film to its impressive list of honours. More recently, Leos Carax's ANNETTE, which opened the 74th Festival de Cannes, distinguished itself at the Césars, winning 5 awards.

The top 10 most award-winning films from the 2021 Selection

Success in theatres

In the current context, where the film industry has had difficulty recovering from Covid-19 and where theatres have been in difficulty due to restrictions that are still in place, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the excellent showings this past autumn of BAC NORDOSS 117 (FROM AFRICA WITH LOVE) and ALINE (ALINE, THE VOICE OF LOVE), each of which drew over a million spectators in France.


In the US, we have been able to see a "Palme d'or effect" with the record-breaking release of TITANE stateside. On its first weekend, Julia Ducournau's film raked in over 530,000 dollars at the box office, the fourth best debut for a Palme d'or winner in the United states, trailing only Michael Moore's FARHENHEIT 9/11, Quentin Tarantino's PULP FICTION and David Lynch's WILD AT HEART. A week later, TITANE reached the top 10 at the US box office, crossing the threshold of over one million dollars in earnings. An exploit that only three other French productions had ever managed, including Paul Verhoeven's ELLE in 2016 and Céline Sciamma's PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU (PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE).


More recently, Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier's LA PANTHÈRE DES NEIGES (THE VELVET QUEEN), which came out on 15 December 2021, saw 108,251 entries in France in its first week of release, placing it 8th in the country's box office, behind massive American movies like SPIDER MAN and WEST SIDE STORY. Well-earned word of mouth for this maginifenct journey to the Tibetan plateau, which has had 400,000 entries so far.

Picture of the movie BAC Nord © DR

Acclaim from the critics

As far as the press is concerned, the 2021 Selection won over the American critics. The New York Film Critics Circle chose DRIVE MY CAR as the Best Film of the year and VERDENS VERSTE MENNESKE (THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD) as the Best Foreign-Language Film. Two films that also distinguished themselves among the National Society of Critics, which gave four awards to DRIVE MY CAR (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor for Hidetoshi Nishijima and Best Screenplay), as well as Best Supporting Actor to Anders Danielsen Lie for his performance in VERDENS VERSTE MENNESKE (THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD). Finally, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s FLEE, a 2020 Festival de Cannes selection, was named Best Nonfiction Film by the National Society of Critics.


Among the nominees for the 27th ceremony of the Critics’ Choice Awards (the date of which is yet to be announced), we find Wes Anderson’s THE FRENCH DISPATCH up for Best Comedy and Best Production Design, FLEE competing for Best Animated Feature and four films that made their worldwide debut at Cannes will be vying for Best Foreign Language Film: GHAHREMAN (A HERO), DRIVE MY CAR, FLEE and VERDENS VERSTE MENNESKE (THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD).


At the 27th Lumières Awards ceremony, which took place in Paris on 17 January, the international press acknowledged the year’s French productions. Of the 13 awards handed out, nine were won by films from the Cannes 2020 or 2021 Selections. Leos Carax’s ANNETTE won three awards: Best Director, Best Cinematography for Caroline Champetier and Best Music for SPARKS, making it the film with the most awards at this edition of the Lumières.

  • Benoit Magimel: Lumière Award for Best Actor for his role in DE SON VIVANT (PEACEFUL)
  • Agathe Rousselle: Lumière Award for Most Promising Actress for her role in TITANE
  • GAGARINE (GAGARIN): Lumière Award for Best First Film
  • LA PANTHÈRE DES NEIGES (THE VELVET QUEEN)  by Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier: Lumière Award for Best Documentary
  • LE SOMMET DES DIEUX (THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS)  by Patrick Imbert: Lumière Award for Best Animated Film. 
  • VERDENS VERSTE MENNESKE (THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD)  by Joachim Trier: Lumière Award for Best International Coproduction.

Awards season: the journeys of Cannes films

European Film Awards

The 34th edition of the European Film Awards took place on 11 December 2021. Among the winners were five films from the 2021 Official Selection and three films from 2020, totalling 11 awards.


2021 Selection

  • GROSSE FREIHEIT (GREAT FREEDOM)  by Sebastian Meise: Best European Cinematography for Crystel Fournier; Best European Original Score for Nils Petter Molvaer and Peter Brötzmann
  • RAZZHIMAYA KULAKI (UNCLENCHING THE FISTS)  by Kira Kovalenko: Best European Editing for Mukharam Kabulova
  • TITANE  by Julia Ducournau: Best European Make-up and Hair for Flore Masson, Olivier Afonso, and Antoine Mancini
  • THE INNOCENTS  by Eskil Vogt: Best European Sound for Gisle Tveito and Gustaf Berger. 
  • LAMB  by Valdimar Jóhannsson: Best European Visual Effects for Peter Hjorth and Fredrik Nord


2020 Selection:

  • AMMONITE  by Francis Lee: Best European Costume Design for Michael O'Connor
  • SMALL AXE  by Steve McQueen: European Innovative Storytelling Award for Steve McQueen
  • FLEE  by Jonas Poher Rasmussen: Best European Documentary; Best European Animated Feature Film; European University Film Award


Golden Globes

The 79th Golden Globes took place on 10 January 2022.


2021 Selection

  • DRIVE MY CAR  by Ryusuke Hamaguchi: Best Foreign Language Film


2020 Selection

  • SMALL AXE  by Steve McQueen: Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Television Film for John Boyega


Goya awards

The 36th Goya Awards ceremony took place on 12 February 2022. Among the winners are Thomas Vinterberg's multi-award-winning DRUK (ANOTHER ROUND) and LA CORDILLERA DE LOS SUEÑOS (THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS), a Special Screening in 2019.


2020 Selection:  


2019 Selection:  


César awards

The 47th César Awards took place on 25 February 2022. It was an edition that showcased the films revealed at Cannes: 7 feature films from the 2021 Official Selection took home 11 awards in total - compared to 4 last year.

Leos Carax's ANNETTE, screened at the opening ceremony of the 74th Festival de Cannes, was particularly distinguished by the Academy. It was the second most successful film of the evening, winning 5 Césars, including Best Director. Among the winners were the heavy favourites ALINE (ALINE, THE VOICE OF LOVE), ONODA, 10 000 NUITS DANS LA JUNGLE (ONODA: 10,000 NIGHTS IN THE JUNGLE)LA PANTHÈRE DES NEIGES (THE VELVET QUEEN), and Benoît Magimel for his role in DE SON VIVANT (PEACEFUL) - all having already won numerous awards. There were also revelations, such as Aissatou Diallo Sagna, the first non-professional actress to win in the Best Supporting Actress category, and LE SOMMET DES DIEUX (THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS), which won Best Animated Film.


2021 Selection

  • ANNETTE by Leos Carax: Best Music Written for a Film, Best Sound, Best Editing,  Best Visual Effects, Best Director
  • ALINE (ALINE, THE VOICE OF LOVE) by Valérie Lemercier:  Best Actress for Valérie Lemercier
  • LA FRACTURE (THE DIVIDE) by Catherine Corsini: Best Supporting Actress for Aissatou Diallo Sagna
  • ONODA, 10 000 NUITS DANS LA JUNGLE (ONODA: 10,000 NIGHTS IN THE JUNGLE) by Arthur Harari: Best Original Screenplay
  • DE SON VIVANT (PEACEFUL) by Emmanuelle Bercot: Best Actor for Benoît Magimel 
  • LE SOMMET DES DIEUX (THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS) by Patrick Imbert: Best Animated Film


independent Spirit Awards

The ceremony for the 37th Independent Spirit Awards, rewarding the best independent films and series, took place on 6 March 2022. Six films from the 2020 and 2021 Official Selections were nominated, with two winning an award:


2021 Selection:

  • DRIVE MY CAR  by Ryusuke Hamaguchi: Best International Film
  • RED ROCKET  by Sean Baker: Best Male Lead for Simon Rex



BAFTA awards

The ceremony for the 75th BAFTA Awards took place on 13 March 2022. Among the nominees were six films from the 2020 and 2021 Selections, for a total of 12 nominations: COW  by Andrea Arnold; DRIVE MY CAR by Ryusuke Hamaguchi; VERDENS VERSTE MENNESKE (THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD) by Joachim Trier; THE FRENCH DISPATCH by Wes Anderson; TITANE by Julia Ducournau and FLEE by Jonas Poher Rasmussen.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi's DRIVE MY CAR came away with the award for Best Film not in the English Language, consolidating its position as the most award-winning film from the 2021 Selection.


the Oscars

On 27 March 2022, the 94th edition of the Oscars closed out the awards season.


After the success of Palme d'or winner PARASITE by Bong Joon-ho in 2019 (Oscar for Best Film, Best Director, Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay) and Thomas Vinterberg's DRUK (ANOTHER ROUND) in 2020, this year it was the turn for DRIVE MY CAR, from Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, to take home the Oscar for Best International Feature Film.

Jonas Poher Rasmussen's FLEE and Joachim Trier's VERDENS VERSTE MENNESKE (THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD) were also all in the running for Best International Feature Film at this 94th edition of the Academy Awards, a category largely dominated by Cannes films this year, with 3 of the 5 nominees having made their debut on the Croisette. (For more information ► The Cannes films en route for the 2022 Oscars)

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