Sean Penn has dismissed suggestions he will be biased towards friend Clint Eastwood's film entry for the Palme D'Or award at this year's Cannes International Film Festival.
The Hollywood star is the 2008 jury president, and has come under fire from internet bloggers who believe he will use his powerful position to ensure Eastwood's film 'Changeling' will come out on top.
Actor-turned-director Eastwood is competing for the prestigious Palme D'Or award at this month's festival for the 1920s thriller - which stars Angelina Jolie, Amy Ryan and John Malkovich.
Rumours of Penn's alleged favouritism towards Eastwood stem from their time spent filming 2003's 'Mystic River' - which won Penn an Academy Award for Best Actor in 2004.
Penn has angrily refuted the accusations, insisting the winning film will stand triumphant on its own merits - and not because the director has pals on the judging panel.
He says: "It is an emotional impossibility for people on this jury to favour films by friends of ours. But we will not be biased against, either.
"If Clint Eastwood has done a film worth awarding, we're going to award it. It is not going to serve anyone to be a friend, or not to be a friend, or any member of the jury."
Penn adds: "This won't be a competition. Between us we will come to a consensus that some films that deserve it will get a leg-up and be shared with a wider audience."
The Palme D'Or judging panel will be headed up by Sean Penn, Natalie Portman and former Harry Potter director Alfonso Cuaron.