Steven Spielberg will head this year’s Cannes Film Festival jury, festival organizers announced Thursday morning local time in Paris. The director has been a festival regular but most of his movies have screened out of competition. His 1974 Sugarland Express won the prize for best screenplay. “It is an honor and a privilege to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world,” Spielberg said in a statement. Cannes officials said Spielberg’s work cuts across a broad spectrum “between entertainment films and serious reflections on history, racism and the human condition”. Fest chief Thierry Frémaux added “We are very proud to count him among us.” Spielberg follows Italy’s Nanni Morettii who headed the jury last year. The news comes three days after Spielberg’s latest historic epic Lincoln was overtaken by Ben Affleck’s Argo in the Best Picture category at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony and Ang Lee took the prize for Best Director for Life Of Pi. Daniel Day-Lewis was named best actor for Lincoln and Rick Carter and Jim Erickson took home the Oscar for production design. As previously announced, Jane Campion is serving as  president of the Cinéfondation and Short Film Jury. This year’s fest runs May 15 through May 26.

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