Spike Lee will serve as jury president during the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.

The BlacKkKlansman director and his team of jurors, which are yet to be announced, will watch all the films selected for the official competition and decide which should receive the Palme d'Or for Best Film.

"In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere. When I got the call that I was offered the opportunity to be president of Cannes jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time," Lee said in a statement. "To me, the Cannes Film Festival (besides being the most important film festival in the world - no disrespect to anybody) has had a great impact on my film career. You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema.

"In closing, I'm honoured to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named president of the Cannes jury and of a main film festival. The Lee family sincerely thanks the Festival de Cannes, Pierre Lescure and Thierry Fremaux and the great people of France who have supported my film career throughout four decades. I will always treasure this special relationship."

The director has had a strong relationship with Cannes since his debut feature, She's Gotta Have It, premiered in 1986, and his follow-up, Do the Right Thing, was selected for the official competition in 1989. He has had seven films debut at the French festival, with his most recent effort, BlacKkKlansman, winning the Grand Prix in 2018.

Lee follows in the footsteps of Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu, who headed the jury in 2019 and selected Bong Joon Ho's Parasite for the Palme d'Or. The thriller became the first South Korean film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars on Monday.

The 73rd Cannes Film Festival is set to run 12 to 23 May.