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Cannes 2015: The Coen brothers named jury heads, boosting the offbeat

The Coen brothers have been named the heads of the Cannes Film Festival jury, a first for a duo

Joel and Ethan Coen have been notching a series of firsts in recent years — their first best picture and director Oscars in 2008 with “No Country For Old Men,” and a few years back they garnered their highest ever box office numbers with “True Grit.”

Now the dark-comedy auteurs have achieved another first: The Cannes Film Festival announced Tuesday that the duo would lead its feature-film jury when the annual gathering gets underway May 13.

The announcement is an unprecedented event for the prestigious confab as well — never before has a pair of filmmakers led the jury.

The winners often reflect the character of the jury chief who has a strong voice in the deliberations room. With the Coens known for their more offbeat tastes, this year’s top prize-winners are expected to follow suit; when the slate is announced in the coming months, look for such choices to become front-runners.

The Coens, who are shooting their Golden-Age-of-Hollywood movie “Hail Caesar!,” noted the occasion -- and their outsider status -- in a statement.

“Cannes is a festival that has been important to us since the very beginning of our career. Presiding over the Jury is a special honour, since we have never heretofore been president of anything. We will issue further proclamations at the appropriate time.”

The brothers were last in Cannes with the period folk-music tale “Inside Llewyn Davis” two years ago. "No Country" began its awards run there in 2007.

The Coens announcement marks the fifth time in the last eight years that an American will chair the Cannes jury; the most recent was Steven Spielberg in 2013, when "Blue Is the Warmest Color” won the top prize of the Palme d’Or. Last year, a Jane Campion-led jury chose the Turkish drama “Winter Sleep” for Palme.

The full jury is expected to be named in the coming months.

@ZeitchikLAT

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