Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt, was the controversial winner of the 64th Cannes Film Festival' top prize, the Palme d'Or, on Sunday. Major critics attending the festival either hailed it or scorned it; few gave it merely so-so reviews. Malick, who shuns the spotlight himself and declined to participate in a news conference with the film's stars, producers and writer, was not on hand to receive the coveted award, which was presented by Jane Fonda. (Producer Bill Pohlad accepted it.) Neither was Danish director Lars Von Trier, whose film Melancholia won a best actress prize for Kirsten Dunst. However, von Trier did not attend because he had been declared persona non grata by the festival for engaging in an absurd riff at a news conference in which he joked that he was a Nazi. Another Danish director, Nicolas Winding Refn, was present to accept the best director award for his action film Drive , starring Ryan Gosling (perhaps the most commercially viable film honored by the jury, which was headed by Robert De Niro). The best actor award went to France's Jean Dujardin, who hardly speaks a word as A Silent Film star in Michel Hazanavicius's The Artist.