Cannes Film Festival: Natalie Portman Hosts a ‘Family Dinner’ to Honor Naomi Ackie, Daryl McCormack

For a family dinner, it was pretty epic. With Natalie Portman as godmother, one would expect no less.

The star was on hand to honor Chopard Trophée winners Naomi Ackie and Daryl McCormack, and welcomed the juries, including presidents Ruben Östlund and John C. Reilly, as well as members Paul Dano and Brie Larson, to sprawling beachside tables glowing with candlelight. French stars Carla Bruni, Stacy Martin and Karidja Toure, and actresses Tang Wei and Rossy de Palma, also joined.

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“You think this is an official dinner? No, no, no. It’s a family dinner,” joked film festival artistic director Thierry Frémaux, to cheers from the crowd. “Because for 22 years now we are here together with Chopard during the festival to share [a moment], away from the noise of the Croisette, being here quietly with so many friends who are already part of the story of Cannes. It’s a real pleasure.”

The family was welcoming new film festival president Iris Knobloch into the fold. “Finally, we have a woman. I’m very excited. It’s life-changing,” said Chopard copresident and creative director Caroline Scheufele. To make it even more of a family affair, Scheufele brought her dog, a Cavalier King Charles named Byron, on stage to share the moment.

Portman’s speech honored Ackie and McCormack, and acknowledged her long history with the festival, including premiering her directorial debut “A Tale of Love and Darkness” in 2015 and serving on the jury in 2008.

“I’ve been very lucky to get to grow up supported by this festival,” she said. “I am so grateful that I get to continue this journey now by supporting the next generation of exciting young talent.”

Naomi Ackie in <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Valentino;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Valentino</a>.
Naomi Ackie in Valentino.

Portman said Ackie “burns bright and fierce,” while McCormack “pops off the screen.”

Ackie, in a white Valentino gown, got a bit emotional after a montage of her work was shown to the crowd. “Actually it’s quite funny: when you’re in the moment of the thing it doesn’t feel that big, and then I’ve realized I’ve spent 20 years doing this job and loving this job,” said the 31-year-old.

“It’s more than a trophy, it’s about the encouragement and the backing of people who I really respect,” she added.

Upon receiving his prize, McCormack said: “I don’t really know what to say other than I used to be brought to the cinema with my mom when I was growing up, and cinema became my passion and has become part of my life. And so to be here and to be in a room with a lot of people I admire and look up to — the little 8-year-old boy wouldn’t believe it.”

The jury arrived in style. Security created a passageway through the throngs of crowds jostling for autographs from the Carlton Hotel, where the juries stay, to the beach club.

Dano arrived a little stunned. “We just saw three [films] in a row and it’s a little demanding on the psyche,” he said of the day. The jury sees 21 films in 12 days, making for an intense period, but are careful not to give away any hints of the discussions going on behind closed doors.

Daryl McCormack
Daryl McCormack

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