The finale to a cold, blustery 2018 Cannes was warmer than expected.
As a surprise for everyone in the Palais, the pay off for toughing it out for two weeks of bad weather and tight security was a rousing performance by international rock superstar, Sting, along with reggae star Shaggy.
The duo appeared live on the steps of the Palais when the prize ceremony ended, and played Sting’s hit, “Message in A Bottle” plus a track from their new album called “Morning is Coming.”
It was a vibrant, euphoric end note to a grueling footnote. All the members of the jury, plus assorted other stars who came for the ceremony, stood behind the performers and swayed back and forth singing “Sending out an SOS.” Indeed, they were doing just that.
Among them were Roberto Benigni, Gary Oldman, and Benicio del Toro as well as Asia Argento, who caused the night’s big “scandale” when she railed against Harvey Weinstein and “the people who enabled him” during the ceremony.
Argento told me at the after dinner that she’d worked on her surprise statement for the entire prior day. She didn’t tell the Cannes organizers of her plan. “But I couldn’t just come and give an award,” she said. “I had to do something.”
It was the first time I’d seen Gary Oldman since he won his Oscar almost three months ago for playing Winston Churchill. How’s he been doing, I asked him at the dinner? “It’s true,” he said, “there are mornings when I wake up and think, Oh, wow. That happened. I have an Oscar!” And where has he displayed it? “Right now it’s just sitting on desk.” His wife, Gisele, nodded in assent. “We’re going to have to find a place for it.”
For Sting and Shaggy by the way, the Palais appearance was a soupçon, a preview of things to come: they return here on July 10th on their international tour supporting their album “44/876.” (The numbers refer to their respective phone dialing codes of London and Jamaica.)
PS Robert Benigni, winner in 1999 of Oscars for “Life is Beautiful,” looks the same as ever, is just as funny and delightful. He’s been very busy in Italy with TV series and performances, he says. His wife, Oscar nominee Nicoletta Braschi, looks the same, maybe younger, glowing. She’s also been performing in theater. They are much missed in America! Roberto told me he hasn’t watched “Life is Beautiful” in years. I have, and it holds up beautifully.