There aren’t a lot of firsts left in Steven Spielberg’s little book of ‘things I’ve done’. But soon he’ll be able to tick off, or cross off, or even write in ‘been head judge at Cannes – sweet’.

Spielberg – who missed out on the Oscar for Best Director and Best Film at this year’s Academy Awards – was supposed to preside over the prestigious film fest two years ago, and now his schedule is a bit more open, he can finally be a judge at the festival that gave his early films, Sugarland Express and E.T their debuts. "My admiration for the steadfast mission of the festival to champion the international language of movies is second to none. The most prestigious of its kind, the festival has always established the motion picture as a cross-cultural and generational medium," he said in a statement.

Cannes president Gilles Jacob said: "As they say across the Atlantic, Steven Spielberg is a Cannes 'regular' – Sugarland Express, Color Purple. But it was with ET that I screened as a world premiere in '82 that ties were made of the type you never forget. Ever since, I've often asked Steven to be jury president, but he's always been shooting a film. So when this year I was told 'ET, phone home', I understood and immediately replied: 'At last!'"

Jessica Capshaw, Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg and Sasha Spielberg at Beverly Hilton Hotel

Spielberg chillin' with the ladies

This year's Cannes film festival runs from 15 to 26 May. Fellow Oscar-winner Jane Campion, who will also judge this year’s talent, will join Spielberg.