Jodie Foster to chair Cannes jury
Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster has been appointed head of the jury at this year's prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
As a competitive event, the Riviera festival has long been considered one of the foremost dates in the annual movie world's calendar.
Festival president Gilles Jacob said Foster had been chosen in recognition of the respect with which she is held both as an actress and individual.
However, in the same breath, Jacob also denied suggestions that, as an American, Foster had been selected in an attempt to patch up his strained relations with Hollywood.
A constant topic throughout Cannes last year was the lack of a significant Hollywood presence.
But Jacob said: "We didn't choose Jodie to please America, but the whole world.
"She is a very intelligent woman and we are confident she will handle the rest of the jury in a diplomatic way," he added.
Foster, 38, is the winner of two Academy Awards, for Silence of the Lambs and The Accused.
She has also acted as producer and director on a number of films.
Foster first attended the Cannes Film Festival in 1976 for the screening of Taxi Driver, which went on to win the festival's highest award - the Palme d'Or.
Jacob said: "Jodie promised me years ago that she would do it.
"She has won the highest awards; it was high time she came to Cannes to award some herself.''
Last year's jury president was French director Luc Besson.
Other respected French industry names to have held the position include the actress Isabelle Adjani.
But there have also been a number of heavyweight Americans, including actor/director Clint Eastwood, screen legend Kirk Dougals and director Sydney Pollack.
Foster said: "I've dreamt of the honor of being president of the jury at Cannes since I was a child.''
The choice of Foster is likely to be seen as a wise one by most.
As well as her Hollywood movie career, she starred in Eric Le Hung's 1977 Moi, Fleur Bleue and Claude Chabrol's 1984 Le Sang des Autres.
And besides her credentials as an actress, Foster is also well known as a strong French speaker.
The actress went to school at the Lycée Français in Los Angeles.
She has also spent a lot of time in France and once had an apartment on the Ile St Louis, in the heart of Paris.