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As the 75th edition of Cannes gets underway, all of the industry’s top Oscar pundits are roaming the Croisette, hoping to catch an early look at possible contenders.
For most of the fest’s history, it hasn’t been much of an awards launching pad. Indeed, only two recipients of its top honor, the Palme d’Or, went on to win the best picture Oscar, 1955’s Marty and 2019’s Parasite. And only on rare occasions were other films which played at the late spring fest — e.g. 2011’s The Artist — able to maintain enough momentum to make a major dent come the height of awards season, prompting distributors to increasingly hold titles until the fall fests.
But in recent years, as the Academy has become an increasingly international organization, more films which played Cannes have been showing up at the Dolby — and not just in the best international feature category. Indeed, from last year’s lineup, Drive My Car went on to picture, director and adapted screenplay nominations, as well as an international win over another fest film, The Worst Person in the World (winner of the fest’s best actress prize), which was also nominated in the original screenplay category. And the fest before that, Palme winner Parasite went on to win picture, director and original screenplay Oscars, topping in each category another Cannes premiere, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
This Cannes, three films screening out of competition are already generating Oscar buzz: the Tom Cruise vehicle Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount), a sequel 36 years in the making; Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis (Warners), starring Austin Butler; and George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing (UAR), with Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba.
Other competition titles prompting chatter include James Gray’s Armageddon Time (Focus), which stars Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Strong; David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future (Neon), with Viggo Mortensen, Lea Seydoux and Kristen Stewart; Showing Up (A24), the latest collaboration between Kelly Reichardt and Michelle Williams; the first English-language effort from past Palme winner Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (still seeking U.S. distribution), starring Woody Harrelson; and the latest from France’s own Claire Denis, Stars at Noon (A24), which pairs Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn.
Films in other tongues that are sparking speculation include several from past Palme winners — Japanese auteur Horkazu Kore-eda’s Broker (Neon), Tori and Lokita (still seeking U.S. distribution) from Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne and Romanian Cristian Mungiu’s latest R.M.N. (IFC) — as well as South Korean master Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave (MUBI).
One thing is for sure: no Netflix Oscar hopefuls will pop at Cannes, given that the standoff between the fest and the streamer over theatrical exhibition in France remains unresolved.
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