After being courted for more than thirty years to head the jury at the Cannes Film Festival, Steven Spielberg has agreed to do so when the annual film competition takes place from May 15 to 26. In a statement, Festival President Gilles Jacob said that ever since he screened E.T. as a world premiere in 1982 he had been asking Spielberg to be president of the jury that decides the awards for the festival, including the prestigious Palme d'Or. But he's always been shooting a film. So when this year I was told, 'E.T., phone home,' I understood and immediately replied: 'At last!' For his part, Spielberg said, My admiration for the steadfast mission of the Festival to champion the international language of movies is second to none. The most prestigious of its kind, the festival has always established the motion picture as a cross cultural and generational medium. ... For over six decades, Cannes has served as a platform for extraordinary films to be discovered and introduced to the world for the first time. It is an honor and a privilege to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.