Spielberg had “accepted in principle” two years ago and was free to take on the role this year, the festival’s general delegate Thierry Fremaux said in an e-mailed announcement by the organizers.
“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,” Spielberg said in the release. “The most prestigious of its kind, the festival has always established the motion picture as a cross-cultural and generational medium.”
Spielberg -- director of “Jaws” (1975), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) -- was most recently on the big screens with the biographical picture “Lincoln.” The movie led actor Daniel Day-Lewis to break records by winning the third best-actor Oscar of his lifetime.
Last year’s jury was led by Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti.
This year’s festival is the 66th of its kind. The first Cannes Festival took place in 1946, a year after World War II ended. Among the event’s earliest award winners were directors Orson Welles, Luis Bunuel, Ingmar Bergman and Satyajit Ray.
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