Cannes: Who Emerged as Oscar Contenders
This story first appeared in the June 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Thanks to the Cannes Film Festival, director Bennett Miller, British actor Timothy Spall and four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore should clear their fall calendars to work the awards circuit. Not that the Academy necessarily looks to the Cannes jury for guidance. If this year's Palme d'Or winner, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep -- a 3½-hour Chekhovian-flavored drama about Turkish class conflict -- surfaces come Oscar time, it will be as a foreign-language entry only.
But with 4,000 journalists crowded onto the Croisette, Cannes is a reliable place to start buzz. Miller's Foxcatcher, in which Steve Carell plays millionaire John du Pont, who developed a fatal attraction to Olympic wrestlers Mark (Channing Tatum) and David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), was hailed as an Oscar contender. Sony Pictures Classics plans to position Carell and Tatum as best actor hopefuls, with Ruffalo in supporting. SPC's Michael Barker says Miller's directing win establishes the movie "as a masterful directorial achievement."
SPC also will be pushing Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, a portrait of British painter J.M.W. Turner played with harrumphs by best actor winner Spall, who has earned five BAFTA noms but no Academy nom. Moore, an Academy favorite, appeared in a much more problematic movie, playing an actress losing her grip in David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, which eOne is releasing. The sharp satire divided critics, but her Cannes best actress win could force the Academy to take notice.
The Homesman, a Western starring Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank, didn't figure in the Cannes awards. But Haim Saban's new Saban Films outbid established distributors by paying $3.5 million and guaranteeing an aggressive awards campaign for the movie, which Jones also directed and co-wrote.
Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux gave DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg a shout-out from the stage before the premiere of How to Train Your Dragon 2, which must be considered an animated frontrunner -- particularly since Pixar is sitting out 2014.
Harvey Weinstein didn't have a horse in the main competition but presented The Weinstein Co.'s upcoming slate, which includes Tim Burton's Big Eyes, starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams; The Imitation Game, with Benedict Cumberbatch as English code-breaker Alan Turing; Suite Francaise, a World War II drama starring Michelle Williams; and a new, stripped-down Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender. Weinstein didn't use the O-word -- and made no mention of the critically lambasted Grace of Monaco -- but enthused over The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, starring Jessica Chastain. For Weinstein, the race is only just beginning.