At Cannes, Lily Gladstone Scores a Familiar Seat

At the Cannes Film Festival, much is made of the standing ovation. Every round of applause earns breathless headlines, with outlets racing to report which movie received the most prolonged cheers.

But sometimes at Cannes, where you sit is just as important as when you leap to your feet.

This is something Lily Gladstone found out Sunday night at Kering’s annual Women in Motion dinner, a star-studded bash that drew the likes of Michelle Yeoh, Julianne Moore, Isabelle Huppert and the jury president, Greta Gerwig. As one of Gerwig’s fellow jurors, Gladstone will help decide the winner of the Palme d’Or. It’s a prestigious position that also represents a full-circle moment for the actress, whose profile was turbocharged last year when “Killers of the Flower Moon” debuted at Cannes.

The day after that premiere last May, Gladstone found herself at the Women in Motion dinner. At one point, she made her way to the party’s center table to greet her co-star Leonardo DiCaprio and perched next to him on an empty chair reserved for the festival’s president, Iris Knobloch.

Recounting the story to me on Sunday, Gladstone grinned. “Iris and I were just laughing about that, that she had to kick me out of her chair last year and now I’m sitting next to her,” she said. In fact, this year Gladstone had been assigned what could be considered the party’s most prestigious spot, the chair between Knobloch and the Cannes artistic director, Thierry Frémaux.

“I’m the Leo this year!” Gladstone said, chuckling. “I’m totally in his seat.”

At this point in the festival, Gladstone and her fellow jurors have seen almost half the films in competition. “Last year, I only had to be concerned with one film,” Gladstone said. “This year, it’s 22.” And her jury experience comes after several months spent on the awards circuit for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which earned her a best actress Oscar nomination.

But though Gladstone’s dance card is full — she’ll soon star in “The Memory Police,” a sci-fi film scripted by Charlie Kaufman, as well as a remake of Ang Lee’s “The Wedding Banquet” that will co-star Bowen Yang — she said that taking time out for Cannes has recharged her artistic battery.

“I’m ready to get back to work and shift that gear, and immersing yourself in other people’s creativity is a great way to kick-start it again for yourself,” she said. “So I’m enjoying the hell out of it.”

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