Sunday, May 22, 2011
2011 Cannes Film Festival Predictions
The 64th Cannes Film Festival comes to a close today, and with it comes the Jury's picks for the best of the bunch. Festival juries are, in many ways, more interesting than other bodies like The Academy, in that 1) they're much, much smaller, and 2) they have to discuss among themselves, and come to a conclusion on their choices. And, if what I've read is correct, the jury will be upholding the tradition of limiting any particular film to 1 award, which rules out any sweeps. Festivals, in general, are more prone to allowing ties (like last year's Best Actor awards), which throws an interesting twist into the mix. Below are my guesses at who/what the Robert DeNiro-led jury will pick:
Palme D'Or: Le Havre One of the best received films in competition was this immigrant tale from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki. It's been hailed for both its gentle humor and understated, moving drama. Critics also note that the film, while still retaining Kaurismaki's trademarks as a director, is one of his most accessible films, "and a veritable pleasure to experience" (The Film Stage). Big films like The Tree of Life (although apparently jury member Olivier Assayas was the lone fan) still have a shot, despite less unanimous praise. The twice-rewarded Dardennes brothers (for The Kid with a Bike) do too, as do small films like the hugely popular silent film The Artist. The jury could throw everyone for a loop and select The Skin I Live In, by Palme-less Almodovar, or even Von Trier's Melancholia, although that's hiiiiiiiighly unlikely. Le Havre remains the favorite, but unlike last year with Uncle Boonmee, there's more room for upsets.
Grand Prix (Runner Up): The Artist If this raved-about silent film doesn't surprise us by taking the Palme, it could very well land in second place. Among the competition line-up's most popular films, its wild mix of old and new techniques could make it a slam-dunk with the jury. That is, unless they weren't as charmed by it as the critics. And as much as I should write it off completely, I'm going to go ahead and say that Melancholia has a shot here, too. Despite some mixed reviews, the reaction was actually quite positive, and in two recent critics groups rankings, it's emerged near the top both times. Tree of Life could sneak in here too, if those rumors were wrong or if the jury came to like it better upon reflection/discussion. The Dardennes brothers could strike here too, if the jury really loves them but doesn't feel like giving them their third Palme.
Grand Jury Prize (second runner up): The Tree of Life
Best Director (Prix du Mise en Scene): Jean and Luc Dardennes - The Kid with a Bike To be honest, this prediction is a complete shot in the dark. I have nothing on which to base it, and looking over potential contenders gave me no inclination towards any particular name. This could just as easily go to Almodovar, Malick, or even Nuri Ceylan for Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. Hell, even Von Trier could be given a left-field surprise win.
Best Actor: Michael Piccoli - We Have a Pope Despite the iffy reception for Nanni Morretti's latest, critics were quite kind to the lead performances, especially Piccoli's portrayal of a man struggling with his ascension to the papacy. Other major contenders could easily spoil this, however. If The Artist doesn't land the Palme or Grand Prix, Jean Dujardin could take this for his turn as a silent film star facing the threat of sound films. Brad Pitt is also in contention for his raved about turn in The Tree of Life; along with Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography, Pitt's work was one aspect of the film that garnered rave reactions across the board. Sean Penn could sneak in too for This Must Be the Place, about an ex-rocker struggling to reconnect with his family's past.
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin Not everyone loved Lynne Ramsay's latest, but it did receive its fair share of raves, which only strengthen Swinton's chances. The film doesn't seem loved enough for the top two prizes, but it is loved by some, which would only help drive more support to Swinton's universally acclaimed performance as a conflicted mother. Other possibilities include Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg for Melancholia (Von Trier does have a way with his actresses), and even Emily Browning for Sleeping Beauty. Browning is certainly the least likely, seeing as she did receive some rather negative reviews, but Cannes is no stranger to picking controversial winners.
Best Screenplay (Prix du Scenario): Once Upon a Time in Anatolia