David Cronenberg has accused Francis Ford Coppola of sabotaging Crash’s chance of winning the Palme D’or at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.
Cronenberg told The Canadian Press, via ET Canada, that, after his film’s premiere at the renowned event, the legendary Oscar winning director went out of his way to tell other voters not to support his controversial adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s book.
Crash was so divisive that the festival created a Special Jury Award especially for the film. Cronenberg believes that only Coppola had a problem with it, though.
“Coppola was totally against it. I think he was the primary one. When I’m asked why [Crash] got this Special Jury Award, well, I think it was the jury’s attempt to get around the Coppola negativity, because they had the power to create their own award without the president’s approval. And that’s how they did it, but it was Coppola who was certainly against it.”
So much so that, Cronenberg says Coppola wouldn’t even hand him the award “during the final closing night ceremony... He had someone else hand it to me. He wouldn’t do it himself.”
Cronenberg says that he has actually run into Coppola several times since this incident, who has repeatedly tried to defend the decision to give Crash this special prize.
“The strange thing is that I’ve run into him several times at various festivals. Always the first thing he says is: ‘Remember, we gave you this award.’ I swore to myself that the next time he said that, I was going to remind him that he was not amongst those who wanted to give [Crash] a prize.”
Cronenberg even went as far as to call Coppola petty, adding, “I was president of the [Cannes] jury as well. You always end up with awards that maybe you don’t think are justified, but your team jury members do. You have to be gracious about it. I don’t think he was very gracious.”