Oliver Stone will receive the first annual Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Leo The Lion Award on May 21 at the Cannes Film Festival. The award has been established to recognize and encourage artistic excellence in individuals who, through significant contributions to filmmaking, have made an indelible impact on the overall value and merit of the library of MGM released films as well as on the world's movie going public.

Oliver Stone's Platoon, the Vietnam War film starring Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger and Forest Whitaker, will have a special screening at the Palais des Festival. "Platoon," which earned $135 million at the American box office during its 1986 release and won the Academy Award for Best Picture, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

"Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is proud of its film legacy," said Harry E. Sloan, MGM Chairman and CEO, "and this year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Oliver Stone's Academy Award winning film 'Platoon.' This was not just another war film. It was written and directed by a combat veteran who brought an authenticity to cinema that had not been seen before, and consequently set the standard for all other films concerning the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. MGM is honored that the 2006 Cannes Film Festival has scheduled a special anniversary presentation of 'Platoon'."

Written and directed by Oliver Stone, "Platoon" received both praise and criticism when it was initially released in 1986. While not the first film about the USA's involvement in the Vietnam conflict, the film was the first to devote its entire storyline to the effect of the war on the common soldier. Loosely based on Stone's personal experiences as an Army combat infantryman in Vietnam (he was wounded twice and received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star), the film challenged the glossier patriotic versions of the war portrayed in earlier releases like 1968's The Green Berets, starring John Wayne.

"Getting to make 'Platoon'," says Stone, who is being invited for the first time to show one of his films in the Festival, "was one of the highlights of my life. To have it shown 20 years later in this great garden of cinema is a deep honor."