WITH HONORS: He may have missed out on the Best Director Oscar last Sunday, but Steven Spielberg will get to hand out the awards at the next Cannes Film Festival.

The organizers of the event, which will take place from May 15 to 26 this year, announced on Thursday that Spielberg would be president of this year’s jury, taking over from Italian director Nanni Moretti.

“My admiration for the steadfast mission of the festival to champion the international language of movies is second to none,” Spielberg stated. “For over six decades, Cannes has served as a platform for extraordinary films to be discovered and introduced to the world for the first time.”

Festival president Gilles Jacob recalled that he screened “E.T.” as a world premiere in 1982. “Ever since, I’ve often asked Steven to be jury president, but he’s always been shooting a film. So when this year I was told ‘E.T., phone home,’ I understood and immediately replied: ‘At last!’” he said.

Spielberg won the best screenplay award at Cannes in 1974 for “Sugarland Express,” but is better known for box office smashes including “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Jurassic Park.”

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