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Ang Lee, Kidman join Cannes Film Festival jury

Ang Lee, best director nominee for his film "Life of Pi", arrives at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 24, 2013. REU
Ang Lee, best director nominee for his film "Life of Pi", arrives at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 24, 2013. REU

LONDON (Reuters) - Double Oscar-winning director Ang Lee and Australian actress Nicole Kidman will be on the nine-member jury at this year's Cannes Film Festival, organizers said on Wednesday.

The panel, led by triple Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg, will decide the awards handed out when the world's most important annual cinema showcase closes on May 26.

Taiwan-born Lee, 58, won his second Best Director Oscar this year, for "Life of Pi", the story of an Indian boy cast adrift in a lifeboat with a tiger. He won his first Academy Award in 2006 for directing the gay cowboy drama "Brokeback Mountain".

Another jury member is Austrian actor Christoph Waltz who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year for his role in "Django Unchained", while Kidman, 45, won a Best Actress Oscar for the 2002 film "The Hours".

"Eight international movie personalities of very high level will help him (Spielberg) award the prizes. They are all engaged and active in several creation spheres," the organizers said in a statement.

Among the prizes is the coveted Palme d'Or for best movie in the main competition which this year has 19 entries including Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra", Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur" and "Only God Forgives", starring Ryan Gosling.

Last year the prize went to Austrian director Michael Haneke's film "Amour", a story of an elderly couple facing illness and death.

Winning the Palme d'Or prize can significantly boost a picture's box office and awards potential.

Also on the jury at the 66th Cannes Film Festival are Japanese director Naomi Kawase, Indian actress Vidya Balan, French actor/director Daniel Auteuil, British director Lynne Ramsay and Romanian director Cristian Mungiu.

Mungiu, 44, won the Palme d'Or in 2007 for his film "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" set in Communist Romania in the final years of the Nicolae Ceausescu era.

The world's biggest film festival runs from May 15-26 this year and opens with Australian director Baz Luhrmann's latest screen version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Paul Casciato)

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