Cate Blanchett has landed one of the film world's most prestigious honors by being named president of the Cannes Film Festival jury this week, ahead of the 71st event which hits France in May. She revealed how thrilled she was to head up this year's film judging panel with a heartfelt statement.

Cate Blanchett at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards Cate Blanchett at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 

The 48-year-old actress will become the 12th woman to head up the Cannes jury, according to the festival organisers' announcement yesterday (January 3rd 2018), taking the place of last year's Spanish jury president Pedro Almodóvar; a director who gave the Palme d'Or prize to Ruben Ostlund's 'The Square'.

'I have been to Cannes in many guises over the years; as an actress, producer, in the marketplace, the Gala-sphere and in Competition, but never solely for the sheer pleasure of watching the cornucopia of films this great festival harbors', Cate said in a statement obtained by Variety

'I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year's jury. This festival plays a pivotal role in bringing the world together to celebrate story; that strange and vital endeavour that all peoples share, understand and crave.'

Previous jury presidents have included filmmaking royalty the likes of George Miller, the Coen brothers, Jane Campion, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Luc Besson, Martin Scorsese, David Cronenberg and Francis Ford Coppola. Meanwhile, other actors who have headed up the jury include Robert De Niro, Isabelle Huppert, Sean Penn, Clint Eastwood, Gérard Depardieu, Kirk Douglas and Sophia Loren.

'We are delighted to welcome such a rare and unique artist whose talent and convictions enrich both screen and stage', said festival executives Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux. 'Our conversations from this autumn tell us she will be a committed President, a passionate woman and a big-hearted spectator.'

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The 71st Cannes Film Festival is set to take place between May 8th and May 19th.