Viggo Mortensen Dispels "Bullsh*t" Myth That Cronenberg's Cannes Jury "Deprived" Pedro Almodóvar Of 1999 Palme d'Or Win

It’s a Cannes Film Festival legend. Supposedly, at the 1999 festival, when David Cronenberg headed the competition jury, he swayed his jury cohorts to award the Palme d’Or to the Dardennes’Rosetta” over Pedro Almodóvar‘s festival favorite, “All About My Mother.” Now, at this year’s festival, “Crimes Of The Future” star Viggo Mortensen put the myth to bed, stating that it’s a “bullshit” rumor and that the jury’s choice for “Rosetta” was unanimous.

READ MORE: David Cronenberg Says Americans Are “Completely Insane” For Mainstreamed Alt-Right Politics & “All Art Is Political”

In an interview with Indiewire’s Eric Kohn, Mortensen detailed how groundless the rumor is after it resurfaced in the press earlier this week. The truth is, “Rosetta” was the last film to play at the 1999 festival after many journalists had already cast their Palme predictions. And Cronenberg’s nine-member jury made a lightning-fast vote for the Dardennes’ film, all in favor of that film over Almodóvar’s.

“I love Pedro and he’s a great guy, but that jury, it was the fastest vote for the Palme d’Or for a movie called ‘Rosetta.’ Unanimous, all nine of them,” said Mortensen. “The president of the jury only gets one vote. All people voted for that movie. So how did [Cronenberg] deprive the Palme d’Or from Pedro? It’s a nonsense story and beneath a great artist like Pedro.”

Other members of the 1999 competition jury at Cannes include André Techine, Holly Hunter, Jeff Goldblum, and George Miller, and the jury did award Almodóvar the Best Director prize at the awards ceremony that year, the only award to receive a standing ovation that night. However, rumors of Cronenberg swaying other jury members persisted after the festival, especially after “All About My Mother” won Best Foreign Film at that year’s Oscars.  

For his part, Cronenberg has shot down these rumors over the years, most recently in a 2014 Vulture interview. “They wanted to pretend that I forced the jury into this decision in order to tweak the nose of other contemporaries of mine, like Pedro and Jim Jarmusch and John Sayles and others who had films there, but it wasn’t me,” Cronenberg said. “I only had one vote, you know? So there was a real disconnect between what was actually going on and what was happening in the press, but that’s Cannes. It always is very, very political, and not only are the French very political, but French cinema politics is even more convoluted and arcane.”

Neither Almodóvar nor Cronenberg have won the Palme d’Or despite each being in competition for it six times apiece. Cronenberg’s latest film vies for it this year, his latest outing with Mortensen after “A History Of Violence,” “Eastern Promises,” and “A Dangerous Method.” Meanwhile, the Dardennes brothers have won two Palmes, the other in 2005 for “L’enfant.”

One wonders if Almodóvar will be up in arms if “Crimes Of The Future” wins Cannes’ top prize this weekend (read our review of it here). Follow our coverage of the festival here to find out.