Steven Spielberg has been selected as president of this year's Cannes Film Festival jury. It's surprising he hasn't done it before, but the head of the festival has actually been trying to get him to do it for the past two years (they got Robert de Niro and Italian director Nanni Moretti instead). He remembers screening E.T. in 1982, Spielberg's first time at Cannes.

Spielberg calls the '82 festival "one of the most vibrant memories of [his] career." He said, "It is an honor and a priviledge to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world."

Despite losing the Best Director Oscar to Ang Lee (it's ok—he already won for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan), Spielberg is obviously one of the best-known and most talented directors out there. You'd actually be surprised at how many classics he's made. 

The Cannes jury decides what prizes go to which films, including the Palme d'Or for the best film shown at the festival. Past jury presidents include Tim Burton, Sean Penn, Quentin Tarantino, and David Lynch.

The 66th Cannes Film Festival begins March 15 in (duh) Cannes, France.

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[via Festival de Cannes]