Although his new drama had a mixed reaction among critics, Brad Pitt has been vindicated. The Tree Of Life - directed by Terrence Malick and also starring Sean Penn - has won the top honour at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Palme d'Or was accepted by two of the film's producers Sarah Green and Bill Pohlad. The director is "infamously shy and low profile ... (but) I know he would be thrilled with this," said Bill.
The Tree Of Life, which opens on Friday in the United States, stars Brad, Sean and Jessica Chastain in a story of family life that plays out against a cosmic backdrop.
Actress Kirsten Dunst took the best-actress prize for the apocalyptic saga Melancholia.
Its director, Denmark's Lars von Trier, was banned from the festival after making sympathetic remarks for Adolf Hitler at a press conference.
"Wow, what a week it's been," said Kirsten, who plays a deeply depressed woman coping with her family's foibles as a rogue planet bears down on a possible collision course with Earth.
Jean Dujardin claimed the best-actor prize for the silent film The Artist, in which he plays a 1920s Hollywood star whose career crumbles as talking pictures become the norm.
Prizes were awarded by a nine-member jury headed by Robert De Niro. The panel included actors Uma Thurman and Jude Law.
Robert told reporters that choosing the top winner was difficult because of the range and "great qualities" among the 20 competing titles but that The Tree Of Life ultimately fit the bill.
"It had the size, the importance, the intention, whatever you want to call it, that seemed to fit the prize," the Cape Fear actor said. "Most of us felt the movie was terrific."
Danish filmmaker, Nicolas Winding Refn, won the directing award for Drive, his action thriller starring Ryan Gosling.
Check out highlights from the final day below
For more Cannes coverage go to http://www.cinemoi.tv