Cannes Film Festival 2024's Biggest Moments: Shocking Trump Scenes, Kevin Costner's Emotional Debut and More

The film festival had it all, from glamorous red carpet moments to scandal brewing on the Croisette

<p>Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Samir Hussein/WireImage; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty</p> Meryl Streep, Emma Stone and Cher at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival

Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Samir Hussein/WireImage; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty

Meryl Streep, Emma Stone and Cher at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival

On Saturday night, the curtain closes on this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The jury, headed up by Barbie director Greta Gerwig, will announce the best of the fest at the closing ceremony, but for many attendees the most glamorous event of the year has already ended. There were plenty of moments both onstage and behind the scenes that made this fortnight memorable, and PEOPLE was there for it all.

Related: The Best Photos from Cannes 2024, Updated Daily

Celebs Overcome with Emotion

The festival started on an emotional note when Juliette Binoche failed to choke back tears while presenting Meryl Streep with the honorary Palme d’Or at the opening ceremony.

Streep tried to comfort her by putting her hand on her shoulder, but to no avail. The moment was nevertheless a joyful one for the Oscar winner, who joked the next morning, “I don't get any respect at home, so it’s amazing to come into this arena and have that big tidal wave. Ce matin (this morning), I was a little rocky. I didn't go to bed until 3!”

Delivering stealth-wealth fashion moments on the Croisette, Streep would go on to reveal that she thought her career "was over" when she was 39.

Related: Meryl Streep Recalls 'Intimate' Out of Africa Shampoo Scene with Robert Redford: 'Didn't Want It to End'

Also unable to contain his emotions during his Cannes outing was the normally stoic Kevin Costner. The 69-year-old actor-director tried to stay composed for much of his 11-minute standing ovation while the effusive reception for his passion project Horizon: An American Saga played out.

But eventually Costner was overcome, flicking away tears inside the theater. "I'll never forget this," he said, as the room continued to thunder applause for the first film of his planned four-part Western drama.

<p>Andreas Rentz/Getty</p> Meryl Streep had a memorable night receiving her Palme d'Or in Cannes

Andreas Rentz/Getty

Meryl Streep had a memorable night receiving her Palme d'Or in Cannes

Star Wars creator George Lucas, who will be honored with his own Palme d'Or at Saturday night's closing ceremony, revealed a surprising passion he let go of after having children.

“I love racing,” he said at a festival Q&A May 24. “I did some celebrity races, but by that time I had been divorced and I had one daughter, and then I adopted two more [kids]. I [once] came close to a big explosion and everybody went, ‘My God.’ The car that blew up was not me, but I realized that all the people around me were saying, ‘Please don't do this. Yes, you might not die, but you also might be crippled for the rest of your life and you've got three kids to watch after. You're the only one they've got.’ I was a single dad. I thought, okay.” Lucas then poured his focus into making films, and the rest is cinematic history.

A-List Date Nights

The red carpet at the Palais is always a glamorous spot for celebrity couples. This year, it was Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky who couldn’t keep their eyes off each other. At the Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga premiere, the couple (who both appear in the film), held tightly onto each other’s hands. Only Anya Taylor-Joy, in full Old Hollwood glam, was able to break the grip when she briefly grabbed both of Pataky’s hands and the two exchanged smiles.

<p>Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty</p> Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky had a glam date night in Cannes

Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky had a glam date night in Cannes

On May 17, it was Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst who shared a date night at the premiere of Plemons' film Kinds of Kindness. Dunst rubbed her smiling husband’s back while they waited to step onto the bustling red carpet, where she held onto his arm as he wrapped his arm around her waist. After the film, during the six-minute standing ovation, Dunst could be seen proudly applauding her husband.

Shocking Movie Moments

<p>Andreas Rentz/Getty</p> Maria Bakalova, director Ali Abbasi, and Sebastian Stan debut 'The Apprentice' in Cannes

Andreas Rentz/Getty

Maria Bakalova, director Ali Abbasi, and Sebastian Stan debut 'The Apprentice' in Cannes

The festival always makes sure there are at least a few uncomfortable moments. Most shocks came — surprisingly not courtesy of David Cronenberg’s new film The Shrouds starring Diane Kruger — but from director Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice, a fictionalized tale of a young Donald Trump starring Sebastian Stan and Maria Bakalova as Trump and his first wife Ivana.

The film depicts Trump sexually assaulting his wife, after telling her he is no longer attracted to her and Ivana retorting that her orange, balding husband may want to look in the mirror. The audience reacted to the disturbing scene as expected, writhing in their seats — a reaction the film also received when its Trump goes under the knife for liposuction and a scalp reduction.

The Trump campaign has since called the film "garbage" and says it will be suing "to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers."

Not to be outdone, Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest film with Emma Stone, Kinds of Kindness, also included moments of mutilation and other memorable scenes that had the audience watching from between their fingers. This didn’t dampen the spirits of a cheery Stone, who the following day at the film’s press conference expressed her elation over being called her birth name "Emily" by a journalist in the room. “That’s my name!” she excitedly told Lanthimos, who appeared to learn something new.

<p>Gisela Schober/Getty</p> Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Joe Alwyn attend the 'Kinds Of Kindness' premiere .

Gisela Schober/Getty

Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Joe Alwyn attend the 'Kinds Of Kindness' premiere .

Stone's Kindness costar Joe Alwyn also stepped into the spotlight for the first time since the release of his ex Taylor Swift's new album, The Tortured Poets Department (which includes subtle references to their relationship). But Cannes kept it classy, and all questions at the press conference for Kindness stayed focused on the film.

"I just trust him," Alwyn said of working with Lanthimos on his latest twisty fable, which is told in three separate chapters with its lead actors playing different roles. "Reading the script, it's bizarre and strange and bonkers and special, of course, but to try and unpack it too much, I think you'd just get stuck in your head."

A Red Carpet Moment Gone Wrong

Nothing on those iconic red-carpeted stairs leading up to the Lumière theater goes unnoticed, and certainly no one missed the confrontation between Kelly Rowland and a security guard that went viral on May 21.

At the premiere for Marcello Mio, the Destiny’s Child alum was ascending the staircase when a security guard tried to move her along. Rowland and the guard got into an exchange, which was captured on video. "The woman knows what happened. I know what happened," Rowland, 43, told the Associated Press at Thursday night’s amfAR gala. "I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries, and that is it."

"There were other women that attended that carpet who did not quite look like me, and they didn’t get scolded or pushed off or told to get off," she added. "I stood my ground, and she felt like she had to stand hers. But I stood my ground."

Cher Turns Back Time

<p>Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty</p> Cher wowed performing at the amfAR gala

Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty

Cher wowed performing at the amfAR gala

The amfAR gala during the Cannes festival is always a glamorous affair, and this year it was also a noisy one, with guests getting a lesson in decorum from Demi Moore, who debuted her new film The Substance while in Cannes. The actress bluntly shushed the audience before introducing Cher, the evening’s headliner. “She’s a Grammy winner, an Oscar winner, an Emmy winner. Are you an Emmy winner, over there in the back of the room? I f---ing don’t think so,” she chided.

With guests present at the The Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc affair including Michelle Yeoh, Andie MacDowell, Heidi Klum, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and Colman Domingo, the evening went on to raise $16 million for amfAR, which dedicates the funds to AIDS research.

And no one’s attention was divided once Cher took the stage. The pop icon delivered a strong four-song set, dressed in a body suit similar to the one she wore in her 1989 music video for “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Joe Jonas also surprised, joining his brother Nick Jonas in a lively medley for amfAR guests.

Related: Demi Moore Praises Cher As 'My Personal Hair Inspiration' at amfAR Gala: 'She’s a Style Icon’

Hot Afterparties

<p>Dominique Charriau/WireImage</p> Selena Gomez wowed in red debuting 'Emilia Perez'

Dominique Charriau/WireImage

Selena Gomez wowed in red debuting 'Emilia Perez'

Cannes isn’t Cannes without some late-night rosé on the beach. After each gala screening, the cast heads to an exclusive afterparty at a destination along the Croisette.

For the film Emilia Perez, stars Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldaña and Edgar Ramirez toasted on the rooftop of the JW Marriott, whereas Chanel paired up with director Francis Ford Coppola for the Megalopolis premiere party at Petite Maison, the restaurant where Jeff Bezos last year celebrated his engagement.

Related: Francis Ford Coppola Brings His Granddaughter Romy, 17, to Cannes Premiere of Megalopolis

At Lucia, the new restaurant from Nikki Beach Hospitality Group, the afterparties for Horizon and The Apprentice attracted a host of famous faces. Celebrating Costner’s grand achievement was Scott Eastwood, who in the VIP area mingled with the cast that included Luke Wilson and Sienna Miller (who attended with boyfriend Oli Green).

Challengers’ Mike Faist, who was in town for his New Generation award from Chopard, also made sure to make the party a late-night destination.

The following night, the party for The Apprentice, sponsored by Perrier Jouet, enticed Cate Blanchett — who has just celebrated her own film Rumours at Lucia — to return to the restaurant for a repeat. Blanchett lingered at the party until 1:30 a.m.

Also at the party was Evan Ross, who at the amfAR gala told PEOPLE he’d had a blast in Cannes. “Maybe too much fun,” he joked. In Cannes, there is no such thing.

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