French film "Dheepan" won the top Palme d'Or prize for director Jacques Audiard at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival on Sunday.
The choice of a film that revolves around the lives of Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka's civil war moving to France was seen as sending a political message, but the awards overall left some critics and festival goers surprised.
"It's extremely disappointing, nobody seems happy," Jay Weissberg, European-based critic for trade publication Variety said.
"It's an anticlimactic finish to a festival that was middling to begin with."
French filmmaker Audiard’s has previously taken the Grand Prize for 2009’s “A Prophet” and the Screenplay honor for 1996’s Un Héro Très Discret at the Cannes Film Festival.
Ethan Coen, who along with his brother Joel served as co-president of the jury, defended the jury's choices, especially the Palme d'Or winner.
"Everybody had an enthusiasm for it, to some degree or another we all thought it was a very beautiful movie," he told a press conference.
Actor and jury member Jake Gyllenhaal got a laugh when he interjected: "It's a good prize."
In his acceptance speech, Audiard thanked his screenwriter father, Michel Audiard, who died in 1985.