The director was supposed to announce a different award winner.
Spike Lee has apologized after slipping up and announcing the top winner at this year's Cannes Film Festival. On Saturday, the director announced that Titane had won the 2021 Palme d'Or, but he was supposed to reveal a different prize winner instead.
"I have no excuses. I messed up," Lee said during a press conference, per Variety. "I'm a big sports fan. It's like the guy at the end of the game in the foul line, he misses a free throw, or a guy misses a kick."
"I messed up, simple as that. I was very specific to speak to the people of Cannes and tell them that I apologize," he added. "They said, 'Forget about it.'"
Lee was the head of the jury for the festival this year, with Maggie Gyllenhaal, French actor Tahar Rahim, South Korean actor Song Kang-ho, French-Senegalese director and actress Mati Diop and more sitting on the jury.
"We love cinema, and it's a great honor for us to be on the jury," Lee later said, per The Hollywood Reporter. "This year, especially, after COVID-19. This is historic. Besides me f**king up, this is historic."
"In 63 years of life I've learned that people get a second chance, this is my second chance," he added. "I apologize for messing up. It took a lot of suspense out of the night I understand, it wasn't on purpose."
Titane director Julia Ducournau became the second female director to win the Palme d'Or and the first to win not jointly with another director (in 1993 Jane Campion had won jointly with Chen Kaige).