Why Jaclyn Jose beat Charlize Theron, Marion Cotillard as Cannes Best Actress

by Jocelyn Dimaculangan
May 23, 2016
Cannes 2016 jury member Donald Sutherland describes the portrayal of Jaclyn Jose (in photo) in Ma' Rosa as "a big-time leading role."

Filipina actress Jaclyn Jose was able to beat several Hollywood actresses when she was named as Best Actress in the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Jaclyn was cited for her performance as a sari-sari store owner who sells drugs in the Brillante Mendoza film Ma' Rosa.

Her portrayal of Mother Rosa in the crime-drama film is a departure from her character as a spoilt, rich woman in the GMA-7's teleserye The Millionaire's Wife.

With this feat, Jaclyn now joins the rank of past winners Helen Mirren (Cannes Best Actress 1984 and 1995), Meryl Streep (Cannes Best Actress 1989), Kirsten Dunst (Cannes Best Actress 2011), Julianne Moore (Cannes Best Actress 2014), Rooney Mara and Emmanuelle Bercot (Cannes Best Actresses 2015).

Deadline.com reports that this edition had the longest deliberation process for the Cannes jury in the 69-year history of the festival.   

It also described the Best Actress category as a "hotly-contested race" because of strong performances from this year's contenders.

A separate article from Deadline.com is even titled "Cannes Film Festival Jury On Long Deliberations, Female-Driven Fare & Why ‘Ma’Rosa’ Actress Won."

It pointed out that there were those puzzled why Jaclyn Jose won since "her character is arrested within the first 15 minutes of the movie, and she spends the bulk of it in jail while her family tries to bail her out. Some critics felt she was a supporting character."

However, Cannes 2016 jury member Donald Sutherland explained, “It’s a big-time leading role and the critics are wrong! That scene at the end where she’s eating!”

French director/writer Arnaud Desplechin also said about Jaclyn: “Her performance broke my heart.”

Variety.com  reports that jury member Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen also defended their decision to give the award to Jaclyn Jose: “We found her to be a wonderful leading actress, a master of her skills. It was not a supporting character.”

This year, Charlize Theron and Marion Cotillard were among the stars who had entries in the prestigious film festival.

Theron topbills the U.S. entry The Last Face, which was directed by her ex-fiance Sean Penn. In the movie, she plays an international aid worker working in Africa who fell in love with a doctor (played by Javier Bardem).

Meanwhile, Cotillard is the lead actress in Mal de Pierres (From the Land of the Moon), the entry from France directed by Nicole Garcia. It tells the story of a sensual, married woman who falls for a lieutenant whom she meets at a Swiss sanatorium.  

Kristen Stewart had two movies in the 69th Cannes Film Fest: the Woody Allen film Cafe Society and the psychological drama Personal Shopper.

However, it was Personal Shopper that entered the main competition, with Stewart portraying a woman trying to communicate with the ghost of her dead brother.

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Cannes 2016 jury member Donald Sutherland describes the portrayal of Jaclyn Jose (in photo) in Ma' Rosa as "a big-time leading role."
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