Steven Spielberg is to head up the jury for the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival, making the "Lincoln" director the first American helmer to assume the role.
Spielberg agreed in principle to preside over the competition for the coveted Palme D'Or two years ago, say organisers. With his schedule currently clear following delays to sci-fi tale Robopocalypse, he is up for the job.
Insiders long before Robopocalypse stalled warned that the film was unlikely to get made over script issues.
In a statement, Spielberg, 66, said: "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 added: "The memory of my first Cannes film festival, nearly 31 years ago with the debut of ET, is still one of the most vibrant of my career. For over six decades, Cannes has served as a platform for extraordinary films to be discovered and introduced to the world for the first time. It is an honour and a privilege to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world."
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!'"
Cannes general delegate Thierry Frémaux confirmed: "Steven Spielberg accepted in principle two years ago. He was able to make himself available this year to be the new jury president and when meeting him these last few weeks it has been obvious he's excited about the job. Because of his films, and the many causes he holds dear, he's year-in year-out the equal of the very greatest Hollywood film-makers. We are very proud to count him among us."
Spielberg won best director Oscars in 1994 and 1998 for Schindler's Listand Saving Private Ryan. Three of his films, 1975's Jaws, ET and 1993'sJurassic Park, were the highest grossing movies in history at the time of their release, and his films have earned more than $8.5bn worldwide at the box office. At the weekend his historical biopic Lincoln saw Daniel Day Lewis take a record-breaking third best actor Oscar for his turn as the 16th president of the United States. Spielberg follows in the footsteps of other US film-making luminaries who have presided over the Cannes jury, including Martin Scorsese (1998), Clint Eastwood (1994) andQuentin Tarantino (2004).