Cannes: Inside Chopard’s Starry Dinner With Natalie Portman, Honorees Naomi Ackie and Daryl McCormack

“It’s a family dinner.”

So said Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux close to 11 p.m. while standing on a well-list stage inside a starry Chopard dinner at Carlton Beach on Friday. It definitely had that feel — like a glamorous, diamond-drenched family reunion with a menu by two Michelin-starred chef Bruno Oger and performance by Juliette Armanet — as the luxury jeweler hosted the gathering to award a Trophee Chopard to both Daryl McCormack and Naomi Ackie as validation for their breakout status on the big-screen.

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The room was filled with festival relatives in the form of this year’s jury — both competition and Un Certain Regard members like Ruben Östlund, Brie Larson, Paul Dano and John C. Reilly — and veteran attendees like Rossy de Palma and Carla Bruni. And then the official Cannes family like Fremaux, Iris Knobloch and Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele, representing the festival’s partner of more than two decades. She had the responsibility of relaying the significance of the night’s annual honor.

“It’s very easy once you are Natalie, Julia or George, what you call the A-listers,” explained Scheufele, referring to Portman, Roberts and Clooney. “But it’s a very hard road to get there. So my idea [in presenting the Trophee Chopard] was…to help the young talents because I saw the struggle. You need scripts, you need directors, you need to be in the right place in the right moment. And it’s a little bit of a kickstart for these two young laureates tonight.”

Speaking of Portman, Chopard drafted the talents of the veteran star to serve as the night’s Godmother and present the trophies. Portman is also a member of the Cannes family as a former jury member and someone with several titles in the selections with her directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness and this year’s May December from Todd Haynes.

“I’ve been very lucky to get to grow up supported by this festival,” Portman said upon taking the stage, calling it one of the most important and mythical festivals in the world. “I am so grateful that I get to continue this journey now by supporting the next generation of exciting young talent and what talent these two honorees possess.”

In accepting, McCormack called it a “great honor” to be feted following his turns in such projects as Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Peaky Blinders, The Wheel of Time and Bad Sisters. “I used to be brought to the cinema with my mom when I was growing up, and cinema became part of my passion and has become part of my life. To be here, the little eight year old boy just wouldn’t believe it.”

Ackie, coming off a well-reviewed turn in a demanding performance as Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance with Somebody, explained that it was emotional standing on the stage. “When you’re in the moment of the thing, it doesn’t feel that big and then I realize I spent 20 years doing this job and loving this job,” said Ackie, who next stars in Bong Joon Ho’s Mickey 17, Zoe Kravitz’s Pussy Island and Justin Kurzel’s Morning. “I’m very, very grateful and that’s a beautiful feeling to have.”

Like one would have sharing an evening with family.

(L to R) Naomi Ackie, Daryl McCormack, Caroline Scheufele and Natalie Portman attend the "The Zone Of Interest" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 19, 2023 in Cannes, France.
Naomi Ackie, Daryl McCormack, Caroline Scheufele and Natalie Portman attend the The Zone Of Interest red carpet ahead of the dinner.
Caroline Scheufele attends the Chopard Trophy during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Carlton Beach on May 19, 2023 in Cannes, France.
Caroline Scheufele attended the dinner with her dog.

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