Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Fistful of Cannes!

I'm so late to this party!  I mean, I was around when the winners were announced, but I left for vacation almost immediately after and so I was not able to get to a computer to discus this at all.  UGH!  I hate when that happens.  I love vacation (honestly, I wish I lived on perpetual vacation) but I kind of hate when it interferes with my awards watching!  Stupid wedding interfered with my live streaming the awards ceremony (but did not deter me from checking Twitter constantly for updates) and vacation has postponed my breakdown of the winners.

So let's get into this!

Palme d'Or

dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Essentially, the Best Picture prize at Cannes went to the lauded Winter Sleep, from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  I'm truly intrigued by this.  I was one who loved Ceylan's last film, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, and so I have no problem with the supposed detractor that this is a slow moving three hour film.  I love the life he breathed into every scene, and the elongated moments only helped to build such strong character development.  I'm not sure who something like this will play with Oscar.  It was not the same kind of fervor that surrounded Blue is the Warmest Color last year (which would have won the Oscar in a cake walk had it been eligible) but it did manage a good amount of buzz.  Still, we won't know how things will play out in its favor until the year progresses and eligibility dates (and final selections) are made.

Grand Prix

dir: Alice Rohrwacher

Second place went to The Wonders.  This, to me, sounds like one of those bizarrely incredibly films that earns its cult following thanks to presenting intriguing themes in a very colorfully complex story.  I can't wait to get my hands on this one.  Looks like the reported 12 minute applause meant something!  Not sure it will mean anything with Oscar though.  Again, being a foreign film this is really only going to compete in one category with Oscar (sadly) and so it all depends on when it gets a release and if it is officially chosen to compete.

Best Director

dir: Bennett Miller

I've been predicting big things for Foxcatcher for a while now, but this unexpected Cannes win (and the overall reception) are beyond what I was initially expecting.  I kind of half expected this to be an Oscar only type thing, but it looks like it could be a really big critical success and rake in some big awards and nominations.  Bennett Miller taking the directing prize is a big deal.  Sure, Heli won last year, but this is a different animal.  Foxcatcher was already going to be in Oscar sights, now even more so.  With these reviews, I'm thinking we're looking at a pretty big Oscar player right now.

Prix du Jury

dir: Jean-Luc Godard & dir: Xavier Dolan

In a really cool twist of fate, a cinematic legend and one of cinema's brightest new stars won together for their competing films, Goodbye to Language and Mommy.  I'm pretty sure the star of Cannes itself was Xavier Dolan, who came in with this preconceived arrogance and a notion of failure in the eyes of everyone around him only to get some of the best reviews of the entire festival and become an early frontrunner for the Palme.  No, he didn't win the Palme, but this glorious tie (Godard is, in my eyes, God of cinema) almost makes up for that.  I just really hope that Dolan get in the Oscar conversation for this.  After last year's Laurence Anyways, he deserves this!

Best Screenplay

dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
(co-written with Oleg Negin)

Leviathan, which was one of the last films to show, also received some great ink (so many allegedly wonderful films to come out of Cannes this year) and managed to walk away with the screenplay award.  While I was unaware of this film until the festival and really didn't pay any attention until the awards were given out, I have to admit that this has suddenly shot to the top of my most anticipated list upon discovering that the director is Andrey Zvyagintsev!  Yes, this is the same guy that brought us The Return back in 2003, and that film is still one of my favorites of the aughts!  I need this movie in my life...RIGHT NOW!  I don't think this will mean anything for Oscar, considering that a winning film here hasn't picked up an Oscar nomination (in this category) since 2003's The Barbarian Invasions, but you never know.

Best Actress

dir: David Cronenberg
(award won by Julianne Moore)

While the overall reception of Maps to the Stars was rather tepid (or at least not as universal as some of the others in competition), it was obvious from the start that Moore was a contender for this award.  While the favorite was Marion Cotillard (and judging from the reviews, I'm really shocked she lost...again!), the award went to Moore.  I'm very interested in her performance, more so than the film itself.  That being said, I have a hard time figuring her into this year's Oscar race, despite her reviews and this award.  Category placement will be key, considering that she is in an ensemble and said to only be in a third of the film.  It's also a Cronenberg film and said to be a pretty risky role (and not a very likable one).  You have to go back to 2006 before you come up with a Cannes winner actually getting the Oscar nom (that was Cruz) and all the way back to 1996 before that (Blethyn), so her chances are slim.

Best Actor

dir: Mike Leigh
(award won by Timothy Spall)

Believe it or not, here is an award that usually translates into an Oscar nomination, so this probably bodes well for Spall, and maybe even for Mr. Turner as a whole (which was unanimously praised by critics).  Four of the last ten winners made it to Oscar, and while there are many who never do, it is not just a recent trend (those four fall in the last five years) because if you look back into the 80's (Oscar only fell for Depardieu in the 90's) you'll see four more Oscar nominees.  I'd say that, at this point, Spall has a really good shot (and a great narrative) for the Oscar nom.

Camera d'Or

dir: Marie Amachoukeli
(co-directed by Claire Burger & Samuel Theis)

So, this is Cannes equivalent of the First Feature film, and it was awarded to Party Girl.  This is an interesting looking film (although I'm not really all that familiar with it) but I don't see it going anywhere past this award, especially stateside.  Sure, Beasts of the Southern Wild won this award, but that was a sensation (critically) and became one of THE films of the year.  Has anyone heard any real splashing from Party Girl?  

Palme d'Or du Court Metrage

dir: Simon Mesa Soto

This is Cannes Short Film award, and it was given to Leidi this year.  Short films are not something that I have followed in the past, although I was on top of it (to the best I could be) last year, so I'm not really sure how well the crossover is here with regards to Oscar,but it is out first glimpse of the Short Film race.  Only time will tell.

So now that we got all the winners out of the way, what else can we draw from the festival?  First, The Search, Hazanavicius's follow up to his Oscar winning The Artist, is a giant dud!  I called it after seeing the trailer, but some of those reviews (and tweets) were brutal.  Also, The Homesman may not be the Oscar magnet we all assumed it would be.  Reviews were decent, but no real standout mentions, and it took home nothing (which was expected after it screened).

I'm really shocked to see three particular films go home empty handed.  First, Still the Water, while divisive, was talked about to extensive lengths thanks to director Kawase's need for the Palme.  Up until the very last moment, it seemed a possibility despite having split reviews.  Next, Clouds of Sils Maria, Olivier Assayas's English language film, received some great ink for the film and for its stars (including the much berated Kristen Stewart) and it was speculated that she could take home the Actress award.  But mostly, I'm just floored that Two Days, One Night got nothing, especially since it was one of the better (some may even say consistently the best) reviewed film from the festival, and it's the Dardenne Brothers!  Cotillard seemed like an easy win (many called her a revelation and a career high) so I'm kind of baffled at her loss.

What are your thoughts?  I know that I'm almost a week late on these, but I wanted to open the door to your comments on this as well.  How do you think Cannes has shaped the Oscar race?  Will any of these repeat with nominations?  Will any of the snubbed find their place in the Oscar race?


  1. I don't know anything about these movies, which makes me appreciate this post, but can I say this is one of the best titled posts of ALL TIME. Well, if you're like me (an immature idiot who doesn't pronounce things correctly)

    A fistful of cans...I mean Cannes.

    1. I love that you mentioned the pun in my post, because I was hoping someone would!

  2. Mike Leigh's work tends to have a broad appeal, I could see Spall featuring during oscar race, he's overdue an oscar nom.
    I'm intrigued about Dolan's and Ceylan's latest, for the same reasons as you, in that Laurence Anyways and Anatolia impressed me a lot.
    I loved The Return, but Elena (2011) put me to sleep :/ I guess Zvyagintsev is hit or miss with me.
    Dardenne's have done enough films about children and teens for the time being, so it's refreshing to see Marion Cotillard in the lead role.

    1. Leigh does have broad appeal, but I hear some have said it may bore US audiences, so I'm skeptical. It looks VERY British, which could work against it, but I have a feeling Spall could survive even if the film fails to connect entirely.

      I really loved Elena. I can't believe that I didn't even realize it was his film. is that? Now I'm really excited for this!

  3. Here's hoping that Cotillard gets an Oscar nom. I was so certain that Two Days, One Night was going to get something, at least a win for Marion Cotillard. I just really want to watch the movie.

    1. I'm totally with you. I'm hoping that maybe she'll get traction for Macbeth, if that gets a release this year. It probably will. Looks like it's done wrapping, and Harvey snatched it up, so I could see a push for it at year's end. Cotillard has a really meaty role there, so she could be a contender for that.

  4. A lot of the choices were really good though I hoped Marion Cotillard would win a Best Actress prize at the festival. I wanna see what Julianne Moore can do in Maps to the Stars as I hope the film is a redeemer for Cronenberg as I hated Cosmopolis.

    1. I actually liked Cosmopolis more after reading the novel, which is stellar. It puts a lot of the pieces together better and makes it an easier flowing film actually. Rewatching it afterward was nice.

  5. I'm so excited for many of these films, especially Mommy, Mr. Turner, Foxcatcher, Leviathan, Clouds of Sils Maria, and Two Days, One Night. The only Oscar crossovers are probably Foxcatcher and Mr. Turner. I want Timothy Spall to get nominated so badly!

    1. It's so funny how for so long I'd hear all this Spall love stuff and think...'why are people so into that gross guy from Enchanted?'...and then I saw Secrets and Lies and it all made sense.

    2. Haha, have you seen Spall in Mike Leigh's All or Nothing? He's pretty great in that as well.

    3. No, I haven't seen it...but I shall seek it out!