Coen Brothers Take Home France's Top Cultural Prize


The Cannes regulars join past honorees Bono and Bruce Willis as Commanders of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Before Inside Llewyn Davis takes home any major awards this season, sibling auteurs Joel and Ethan Coen are already walking away with one of the globe's biggest honors.

On Wednesday, the duo received France's top cultural honor: the title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. The award is given by the French government to people who "significantly contributed to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance." Past 2013 recipients include Bruce Willis, Wong Kar-wai, Bono, and James Lipton.

"Sometimes life plays jokes on you. Some of them are very unfortunate. Some of them are very fortunate. This is one of the most fortunate jokes I think that life has played on us. We're very, very grateful for it," Joel Coen said during the ceremony. French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti was on hand to present the brothers with their awards.

Despite being distinctly American filmmakers -- having written films like Fargo, No Country for Old Men and True Grit -- the Coen brothers are no strangers to France. Eight of their films have premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, with 1991's Barton Fink taking home the
Palme d'Or. In 2006, the two were part of the Paris tribute anthology
Paris, je t'aime.

Inside Llewyn Davis, Grand Prix winner at this year's Cannes fest, will arrive in theaters Dec. 6.