NEW YORK (May 27, 2014) – Sony Pictures Classics has been a major presence in Cannes this year, highlighted by winning important awards this past weekend, kicking off what promises to be an outstanding year ahead for the company.

The Best Director Award went to Bennett Miller for his film FOXCATCHER, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, and Anthony Michael Hall. Produced by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, the film will open in theaters in the United States onNovember 14.

"The fact that Bennett Miller won this award confirms the seamlessness of all the performances especially Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo and the inability to single out just one to represent the full accomplishment of the film. The award confirms first and foremost this is a director's movie, and a great one at that," says Sony Pictures Classics.

Timothy Spall won the Best Actor Award for his role as eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh’s MR.TURNER. Additionally, Dick Pope, the Director of Photography for MR. TURNER, won the Vulcan Award of the Technical Artist. The film will be released stateside on December 19.

Sony Pictures Classics adds, "The center of Mike Leigh's glorious achievement of MR. TURNER, from the cinematography to its unbelievable design, is Tim Spall's remarkable performance, a result of an actor's collaboration with a filmmaker that spans 33 years over several films culminating in the masterful MR. TURNER."

LEVIATHAN, winning the Best Screenplay Award for director Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, is a story of contemporary Russia told on an epic scale that rivals the great Russian novels of the past.

"20 years after (to the day as a matter of fact) we came to Cannes and discovered and bought Mikhalkhov's BURNT BY THE SUN which went on to box office success and won the Academy Award, we discovered LEVIATHAN, one of the finest foreign language films of the last decade," states Sony Pictures Classics.

THE SALT OF THE EARTH won the Un Certain Regard Special Prize & Commendations from the Ecumenical Jury. Co-directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the film documents the life and work of photographer Sebastião Salgado as he travelled through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity.

"We are overjoyed to be back in business with the master Wim Wenders,” says Sony Pictures Classics.

Sony Pictures Classics' unprecedented presence at Cannes this year included many other high profile and acclaimed movies. In Directors’ Fortnight, the Sundance award-winning WHIPLASH, directed by Damien Chazelle featuring Miles Teller and J K Simmons, received standing ovations at every screening. The refreshing Almodovar produced WILD TALES, directed by Damian Szifron, the lovely JIMMY'S HALL from Ken Loach and Bertrand Bonello's bold SAINT LAURENT were all In Competition. Out of Competition entries RED ARMY, Gabe Polsky's wildly popular documentary about hockey and Russian politics, and COMING HOME, one of Zhang Yimou's finest featuring a much lauded performance by Gong Li, were particular standouts at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992, which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.

Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 32 Academy Awards® (28 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 140 Academy Award® nominations (114 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, AND CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; a global channel network; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of entertainment in more than 142 countries. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com/.