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Cannes jury defends selection of Jaclyn Jose as Best Actress

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Members of the jury for the 2016 Cannes film festival have defended the choice of Jaclyn Jose as this year’s Best Actress for her sterling performance in “Ma Rosa.”

Some critics have suggested that Jose played a supporting role in the Brillante Mendoza ensemble. But the jury proved critics wrong.

“The critics were wrong. It’s a big-time leading role. That scene at the end where she’s eating,” said according to Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, a member of the jury.

“She’s the film. She broke my heart,” said French film director Arnaud Desplechin, another member of the jury, as reported by movie review site Indie Wire.

Some people in Cannes were reportedly surprised when Jose’s name was called out as Best Actress. Others scratched their heads.

Anne Thompson, the editor at-large of Indie Wire, summed up that surprise in one tweet: “An audible gasp went up in the @Festival_Cannes press room as Philippine actress Jaclyn Jose won for Brilliante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa.”

Jury member Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen described Jose as a wonderful actress.

“We found her to be a wonderful leading actress, a master of her skills. It was not a supporting character,” said Mikkelsen, in an online article published by the Emirates 24/7 entertainment website.

Hollywood-based Variety Magazine also praised Jose for the “naturalistic grace” of her film performance as a mother who sells drugs to meet the family’s daily needs.

Jose, 52, beat other nominees Sasha Lane of “American Honey,” Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”), Elle Fanning (“The Neon’s Demons), Ruth Negga (“Loving “) and Oscar best actress awardee Marion Cotillard (“From the Land of the Moon”).

Cotillard was named Best Actress in the 2007 Oscars for the movie “La Vie en Rose.”

The jury said that the race for best actress was tight because of the strong performances of the nominees but they could not present more than one prize for the top three awards.

Australian director George Miller, president of the Cannes film festival jury, recalled the deliberations in the selection of this year’s winners.

“It was a collective experience, a hard one over many hours. It was incredibly vigorous and rigorous. Nothing was left unsaid,” Miller said of the deliberations, as reported by Deadline Hollywood. He added that the the jury “avoided looking at what other people were saying.

Miller, 71, is the director of the critically-acclaimed film “Mad Max: Fury Road” which was the biggest winner at the 2016 Oscars when it went home six awards – Best Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. His other film credits include “Babe,” Happy Feet,” Lorenzo’s Oil,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” etc.

Other member of the jury were actress Kirsten Dunst, Italian actress Valeria Golino, Hungarian film director Laszlo Nemes, French singer-actress-model Vanessa Paradis, and Iranian film producer Katayoon Shahabi.

Jose, who is currently seen in the Kapuso afternoon series “The Millionaire’s Wife,” was emotional when she received the acting award, the first for the Philippines in the Cannes film fest acting category. She went up the stage with Mendoza and real-life daughter actress Andi Eigenmann.

“I don’t know what to say…I just… I am so surprised. I was just following whatever he is saying and telling me to do, so I give my thanks to Brillante. He is such a brilliant director and genius in the film industry. I would also like to share this recognition to all the Filipinos who are here now… to my countrymen, to the Philippines,” said Jose.

The last time the Philippines won in Cannes was in 2009 when Brillante was named Best Director for the film “Kinatay.”