Robert De Niro honoured newcomers Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Niels Schneider by handing them prizes for emerging talent at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday (14May11).
The Taxi Driver icon, who is leading the jury at the 2011 film showcase in France, presented the pair with the prestigious Chopard Trophy at a ceremony at the Hotel Martinez.
French-Spanish actress Berges-Frisbey was moved to tears as she gushed, "It's already a real gift to get an award, and to get it from these hands..."
Schneider admitted he thought he was being pranked when he was informed of the honour two months ago.
He tells the Associated Press, "They told me on April 1 and it's such a huge award, I was sure it was an April Fools prank. It's an honour, but also really a lot of pressure, given the list of winners."
Past recipients include Marion Cotillard, Amelie star Audrey Tautou and Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.