Cannes 2012: Meet the Jury That Decides Who Will Win the Palme D'or

5:30 AM PST 05/10/2012 by Scott Roxborough
AFP

From actors to directors and even a french fashion designer, the careers of these nine judges provide clues to who they will favor.

This story first appeared in the May 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

They hold the power to decide who will win the Palme D'or. Their careers provide clues to who they will favor.

THR's Full Coverage of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival

The Artiste: Emmanuelle Devos
French actress

The presence of veteran actress Devos would seem to stack the cards in favor of director Jacques Audiard's competition title Rust and Bone. Devos starred in two of Audiard's films: The Beat My Heart Skipped and Read My Lips, for which she won a Cesar for best actress. But, a child of actors, she could also warm to Alain Resnais' You Haven't Seen Anything Yet, starring Mathieu Amalric, Lambert Wilson and Michel Piccoli.

The Couturier: Jean Paul Gaultier
French fashion designer

Designer Gaultier has created costumes for Pedro Almodovar's competition films Bad Education and The Skin I Live In as well as Luc Besson's 1997 Cannes festival opener The Fifth Element. Expect the most stylish films -- David Cronenberg's cool, urban Cosmopolis, with Robert Pattinson, or Leos Carax's Holy Motors -- to win over this fashionista.

The Professor: Alexander Payne
American director

Two-time Oscar winner Payne returns to Cannes a decade after his About Schmidt premiered in competition. The brainy director of The Descendants may be the hardest to handicap. He's as likely to vote for the wit and style of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom as Cristian Mungiu's Romanian orphanage drama Beyond the Hills or Hong Sang-soo's low-key In Another Country, starring Isabelle Huppert.

The Model: Diane Kruger
German actress

A fashion model turned star of Troy and National Treasure, Kruger is the token A-lister on the Cannes jury. Her Hollywood sensibilities may be good news for this year's American entries including Andrew Dominik's crime thriller Killing Them Softly, featuring Brad Pitt, and Lee Daniels' death-row drama The Paperboy, with Zac Efron and John Cusack. 

The Downer: Andrea Arnold
British director

Arnold likes it bleak: See the director's dark social dramas -- and Cannes competition entries -- Red Road and Fish Tank. She even managed to scrub the period sheen off Emily Bronte's classic to reveal a gritty underside to Wuthering Heights. There will be plenty to set off her bleak-o-meter in this year's competition, from Paradise: Love, the latest quasi-documentary from Austria's Ulrich Seidl to Thomas Vinterberg's drama The Hunt, about a man in a small Danish town who becomes the target for mass hysteria.

The Wild One: Ewan McGregor
Scottish actor

Beginners star McGregor loves motors and the open highway -- as evidenced by his motorcycle documentary series Long Way Round. So Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation classic On the Road already has a leg up with this jury member. McGregor's wild-guy image could mean good things for other rough-and-tumble titles in the running such as John Hillcoat's bootlegging drama Lawless and Jeff Nichols' Mississippi-set Mud.

The Medalist: Nanni Moretti
Italian director

Jury president Moretti is an old Cannes hand -- the Italian actor/director has had six films in competition at the festival and won the Palme d'Or in 2001 for his family drama The Son's Room. A European auteur through and through, expect Moretti to favor competition films from fellow Palm d'Or recepients such as Michael Haneke (Amour) and Ken Loach (The Angels' Share) or his Italian countryman Matteo Garrone (Reality).

The Activist: Raoul Peck
Haitian director

Politics inform the life and work of Peck -- who even served a brief term as Haiti's Minister of Culture from 1996 to 1997. Expect his vote to make both a political and aesthetic statement, a tactic that would favor films such as Yousry Nasrallah's After the Battle, Sergei Loznitsa's period drama In the Fog or Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone in Love.

The Diplomat: Hiam Abbass
Palestinian actress

An Arab citizen of Israel who identifies as Palestinian, Abbass is used to negotiating tricky political and social boundaries in her work -- which includes Eran Riklis' The Syrian Bride and Steven Spielberg's Munich. On the Cannes jury, she could end up playing the role of diplomat, helping to find a consensus amid the squabbling. Her own taste may lean toward competition titles with a personal and political edge, such as Yousry Nasrallah's Egyptian drama After the Battle or Like Someone in Love from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami.

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