Watch: Spike Lee mistakenly unveils Palme d'Or winner too early
Spike Lee mistakenly announced the main prize of the Cannes Film Festival right at the beginning of the closing ceremony.
The Oscar-winning writer and director, who was the president of the festival's jury this year, immediately revealed Julia Ducournau's movie Titane as the Palme d'Or recipient.
Lee appeared to jump the gun and make the announcement due to a misunderstanding over the term "first prize" with the ceremony's presenter.
Despite other jury members including actors Mélanie Laurent and Tahar Rahim trying to interrupt him, the announcement had been made and it was too late to put the genie back in the bottle.
Social media users immediately compared the incident to the infamous mix-up involving La La Land and Moonlight at the Oscars in 2017.
Spike Lee just pulled the Cannes version of a Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway moment. #Cannes2021
— Christian Blauvelt (@ctblauvelt) July 17, 2021
— Leonardo Goi @Cannes (@LeonardoGoi) July 17, 2021
When the time eventually came for the usual announcement of the Palme d'Or, Lee admitted he had "took a lot of suspense out of the night" with his premature revelation.
At the press conference after the event, Lee apologised profusely for his mistake, saying he has "no excuses" for what transpired.
He said: "I messed up. I’m a big sports fan. It’s like the guy at the end of the game in the foul line, he misses the free throw, or a guy misses a kick.
"I was very specific to speak to the people of Cannes and tell them that I apologise. They said forget about it."
Titane was considered by many to be an unorthodox Palme d'Or winner, with IndieWire describing it as "almost certainly the sweetest movie ever made about a serial killer who has sex with a car".
Fans of the movie's director, Julia Ducournau, will have been expecting something unusual though given that the film is her follow-up to the brilliant 2016 cannibal movie Raw.
Read more: Chloe Zhao makes history with Oscar victory
Ducournau is only the second female filmmaker ever to win the Palme d'Or — 28 years after Jane Campion's The Piano was garlanded in 1993.
The director said her win "can’t be boiled down to just being a woman" and added: "There will be a third, there will be a fourth, there will be a fifth."
Watch: Julia Ducournau makes history with Palme d'Or win