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67th Cannes Film Festival Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

Photo from redriff.com

And we have finally reached the end of the season. The end of the 67th Cannes Film Fest a.k.a the world’s biggest film festival is upon us in a few hours. Now that all films in the In Competition have screened, it’s time to predict on which films and performances will garner prizes from our jury headed by Jane Campion. As the whole season progressed, there have been lots of talks about the films in contention this year. From Still the Water‘s Naomi Kawase’s claim that she’s going Palme or nothing, to Xavier Dolan’s dedicating his possible win to the filmmakers of his generation, Cannes has never been louder – and more competitive – than ever. This year we have no solid frontrunner like that of Amour in 2012 or Blue is the Warmest Color like last year so predicting things is much trickier this time around. With that said, here’s how I foresee Campion and company’s decisions in all seven categories.

Two Days, One Night

SCREENPLAY:

PREDICTION: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, “Two Days One Night
The Dardenne brothers have always ended up with something during their last five participation in the main competition of the Cannes Film Fest. So as expected, they’re bound to end up winning one for this latest film which is a hit from the critics and watchers alike. While the possibility of them receiving a third Palme d’or is very much possible, the reward can also happen to lead actress Marion Cotillard whose third time is probably the charm for these voters. That said, I think they’re ending up with the Screenplay award instead which will continue their impressive record of winning in competition.

ALTERNATE: Andrey Zvyagintsev, Oleg Negin, “Leviathan
If not the pair of brothers, then maybe this pair of writing pals will end up winning n this category instead. There seems to be a level of disconnect in terms of the reception between critics with Leviathan, but if the jury is sold, this can be the most fitting place for them to reward it.

Timothy Spall

ACTOR:

PREDICTION: Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner
Mike Leigh’s lead acting roles have a tendency to attract awards and recognition, and Mr. Turner  seems to be no exception. Timothy Spall’s transformation as the British painter J.M.W. Turner is one that screams acting, and this seems to be the most fitting place to reward the film. Make no mistake though, as there are lots of other contenders in this category as well.

ALTERNATE: the male ensemble of Foxcatcher (Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo)
I know what you’re thinking. Cannes winner Channing Tatum? Well yeah that’s indeed close to happening. If the jury can’t decide on which Foxcatcher actor to reward, then they might give a share to all three actors instead for their contribution in this well received Bennett Miller’s cold drama. Ensemble wins are pretty regular at festivals, so it’s not as if this is the first time that it will happen. That said, watch out for Gaspard Ulliel in Saint Laurent or Haluk Bilginer of Winter Sleep to be competitive for the win as well.

Juliette Binoche

ACTRESS

PREDICTION: Juliette Binoche, “Clouds of Sils Maria
Sure, Binoche has won just four years ago with Certified Copy, but never underestimate this jury’s love for Juliette Binoche. A lot of them are vocal huge fans of the actress, and that alone might put her instantly to the top. Besides, Sils Maria is such an actressing role. It’s about an actress reclaiming a position that was hers before. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they give a joint prize to Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart who’s been receiving career best reviews here. For now, I’ll stick with solely Binoche, but I wouldn’t count out that possibility.

ALTERNATE: Anne Dorval, “Mommy
Xavier Dolan is a great actor’s director, as he surely brings out the best of his actors in the screen (sadly, the same can’t be said for his performances in his films). From what I’ve read tho, Dorval’s too much of a showy, too much in your face, cold role that might turn some members of the jury off. There’s also the possibility of Mommy winning the Palme which will easily eliminate Dorval from the conversation. Also take note of Marion Cotillard’s great ink for the Dardennes’ Two Days, One Night. Girl has been waiting for her Actress prize for the third year now (after losing for Rust and Bone and The Immigrant)  and this might be her time. There’s also Julianne Moore who’ll be the second actress (after Binoche) to win the trifecta of Actress wins in all three big festivals for Maps to the Stars. But I’m not really counting on that to happen.

Mommy

DIRECTOR:

PREDICTION: Xavier Dolan, “Mommy
Dolan is a co-frontrunner for the Palme, there’s no doubt about that one. And if anything, his is the type of experimental approach that this jury could possibly appreciate. With that said, if a consensus has to be played out in the jury, I think they’ll give him the Directing award instead. For all the style approaches that Dolan used in Mommy including the type of screen he used in the final output, i think it’s pretty obvious that this is the place where they’ll reward the film instead.

ALTERNATE: Naomi Kawase, “Still the Water
Kawase came to Cannes prepared with the Palme in her sight. But seems like a lot of films upstaged hers though. Never mind that since Jane Campion is a vocal Kawase fan, and unless she pulls an Isabelle Adjani and demands the rest of them to give the Palme to this, then this directorial effort might be her best shot for a win this year. After all, there have been so many talks with only one female director winner in Cannes history, so this will some sort of a passing the torch style if she wins this one. Plus with the divisiveness of Still the Water, this fits the bill of other underwhelming or critically panned films that still ended up winning Director the last few years (Brillante Mendoza for Kinatay in 2009, Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebras Lux in 2012, and last year’s Aman Escalante for Heli). The other female director Alice Rohrwacher is also a contender here.

Le Meraviglie

 

JURY PRIZE

PREDICTION: Alice Rohrwacher, “Le Meraviglie
Rohrwacher’s case is very interesting this year. While the rest of the critics are raving about this film, the French one seemed to be so adamant about it even ranking it as the lowest in their polls. But except for that, it has been performing greatly among all the other ones. I think in this case, the French are clearly the outliers, and this Italian director can score a Jury Prize from the panel of voters.

ALTERNATE: Naomi Kawase, “Still the Water
If not, then maybe the other woman in the festival, Naomi Kawase, can end up winning this. Seems like Still the Water, for all its divisiveness, is the type of of film that gains really passionate fans and those fans might be the ones making up the decision this year. If they can’t come up with a consensus of this one winning the Palme, then the Jury Prize might be good enough as the palce to reward it.

Timbuktu

 

GRAND PRIX

PREDICTION: Abderrhamane Sissako, “Timbuktu
Despite premiering at the earlier part of the festival, Sissako’s Timbuktu not only managed to raise the bar for competition this year, but they also were able to maintain this momentum all throughout the festival. With a riveting “OMG important” political topic tackled in the film, I’m quite confident that this will be getting home with an award. It’s one of the year’s most lauded films and this might give him another win after his Un Certain Regard victory 21 years ago.

ALTERNATE: Jean-Luc Godard, “Goodbye to Language 3D
Going into the competition, Godard is another one who’s a common denominator of influence and inspiration among the members of this year’s Cannes jury. But despite strong polarizing reactions with this one, and with reports of the jury not giving a care about it, who knows if they’ll give this an award or if they will leave it to the dust?

Winter Sleep

 

PALME D’OR

PREDICTION: Nuri Blige Ceylan, “Winter Sleep
And as for the biggest prize, I think that it is Ceylan’s time to win the Palme for this year. Not only did he manage to sustain the high expectations given to him after Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, he was able to translate that with near consensus critical appraisal for this one. Winter Sleep is the type of film that I think can avoid the polarizing reaction from the jury and one that can be on the middle ground when the other polarizing films bring down each other. Also, the technical achievement of this film is outstanding that it might certainly put it on top of the jury’s preference list for this year.

ALTERNATE: Xavier Dolan, “Mommy
When Dolan vocally mentioned his frustration of Laurence Anyways not getting a Main Competition slot two years ago, it seemed as if his ego’s feeding him with that statement. And for his first foray into the big leagues, he certainly did not disappoint with the raves his film is getting. I admit, even I was surprised with this reception to Dolan’s film, since he’s usually polarizing and divisive that his film getting a favorable consensus is new to me. I can envision a scenario of him winning the Palme actually, and being the youngest director to pull that off. But is the jury ready for that? Let’s see.

As for the annual snubbed film of the year that will join the ranks of Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Aki Kaurismaki’s  Le Havre, Leos Carax’ Holy Motors, and Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, my bet is on Godard’s “Goodbye to Language 3D.” Seems like it will be too divisive for the jury to have a consensus on where to award it, regardless of its great reviews.

There you have it. Another year at Cannes has ended and this year seemed more competitive than the previous one. Sure we don’t have the totally groundbreaking ones, but we don’t have total clunkers this year (though the closest would have been Michel Hazanavicius’ The Search and Atom Egoyan’s Captives). I’m excited the most for Dolan, Ceylan, Assayas, Dardennes, and Cronenberg, so I hope we’d get to see them sooner. For the Un Certain Regard, Lisandro Alonso’s Jauja, Pascale Ferran’s Bird People, and Ryan Gosling’s Lost River (bad reviews be damned) are on the top of my list. Who do you think will end up winnign this year? Can Dolan be the youngest Palme director winner? is third time the charm for Marion Cotillard? Can Channing Tatum and Kristen Stewart add Cannes winner on their names? And can Naomi Kawase shift careers as the next Nostradamus now? I bet you’re excited to find out.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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66th Cannes Film Festival Winner Predictions   1 comment

 

Photo courtesy of  Zimbio

In just a few hours, the 66th Cannes Film Festival is about to close. After almost two weeks of non-stop film premieres, the biggest movie festival in the world will soon end. And it is up to jury head Steven Spielberg, together with members Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz, Lynne Ramsay, Naomi Kawase, Cristian Mungiu, Daniel Auteuil, and Vidya Balan, to reveal their choices on the winning films and performances for this year. It’s definitely one of those up in the air years, as there were a lot of films that gained positive response from the media and the Cannes audience this year. And of course, there’s also those surprising choices that came from movies that received cold reception.

I’ll give my shot on who I think will end up as winners in the festival this year. However, it is noteworthy to emphasize that it is really difficult to predict these things since there’s no trend to follow as the jury members change every year. But with that said, here are my predictions for the seven categories to be awarded at the closing festivities:

SCREENPLAY:

Prediction: Ethan and Joel Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis
As of now, the Coens’ latest entry is turning up to be the best reviewed American film of the year thus far (with a perfect 100 score), and Llewyn seems to be destined to win something in the festival. While chances of directing, actor for Oscar Isaac, and even the Palme d’Or (critics are comparing it to Barton Fink which won them a Director prize), I think they will spread the wealth and reward it with a Screenplay win.

Alternate: Asghar Farhadi, “Le Passé
Farhadi is shaping out to be one of the notable names in festivals and his follow up to 2011’s A Separation also gained notable mentions from the critics. If Farhadi won’t win the top plum this year, then they can pick up multiple wins including this one for screenplay.

ACTOR:

PREDICTION: Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra
While odds for a tie are slim, I’m predicting the team up of Matt Damon and Michael Douglas to pick up the top male plum for this year. It really sucks that this won’t get a theater premiere (which easily eliminates them from Oscar contention), but Douglas’ unanimous reviews (and even mentions of his all time best work) is definitely a shoo-in for an Emmy already. It’s also likely that it will solely be Douglas who will win, but with Damon working with Spielberg in the past, he can easily sneak Damon for the win too.

ALTERNATE: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska
If not Douglas, then one can expect Bruce Dern to snatch up the Actor prize for his work in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. This can be some sort of a prelude to his possible Oscar season, and they can also tag team Will Forte as well, in case they give Behind the Candelabra a higher award.

ACTRESS:

PREDICTION: Adèle Exarchopoulos, “Blue is the Warmest Color
If the jury doesn’t connect to a consensus choice of Blue… being the Palme d’Or, then it can find its way to recognition by winning the Actress award via Adèle Exarchopoulos’s unanimously praised performance. If the Damon/Douglas tie don’t work in Actor, then expect a consecutive tie here (after last year’s victory from Beyond the Hills ladies) between Adèle Exarchopoulos and co-star Lea Seydoux.

ALTERNATE: Marion Cotillard, “The Immigrant
After failing to win this category last year for Rust and Bone, Cotillard can see herself in contention and even a win for this year, thanks to James Gray’s The Immigrant. Cotillard is a famous French star who has been a regular at Cannes for the past few years. This can also be The Immigrant’s win especially if the movie divides the jury.

DIRECTOR:

PREDICTION:  Paolo Sorrentino, “La Grande Belleza
Sorrentino surprised everyone when he got overwhelming positive response for this year’s The Great Beauty. Reviews specify the good combination of breathtaking visuals and the strong direction, which leads me to believe that if Sorrentino wins anything from the festival, it’ll most be likely this one.

ALTERNATE: Steven Soderbergh, “Behind the Candelabra
Soderbergh is one of the true Cannes breakouts. His career started out with sex.lies.videotape in 1989, and this could be a statement from the jury for Hollywood passing up on the film because of its theme. Also, Soderbergh hasn’t won in this category yet, and this can be his first prize here.

JURY PRIZE

PREDICTION: Hirakazu Kore-eda, “Like Father, Like Son
Kore-eda’s drama about the nature vs. nurture of two children switched at birth was a hit at Cannes, and Jury Prize seems to be the most fitting category to reward it. Rumor also have it that Kore-eda is already back at Cannes, which means that it’s likely that the film will be rewarded for something. It also seemed to be getting raves from the jury with Spielberg quoted as emotional to the film’s theme.

ALTERNATE: James Gray, “The Immigrant
Gray is such a divisive filmmaker. His works is always between a love it or you hate it. It’s either for you or not. With that said, I can also see a scenario where they give him the Jury Prize in order to satisfy members of Jury who wants it to be rewarded with something while also satisfying those members who do not like it, as it won’t get the top prize.

GRAND PRIX:

PREDICTION: Jia Zhangke, “A Touch of Sin
Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin seems to be perfect for the Grand Prix category. It’s not a total standout to win the Palme, but it gains specific supporters that can push it for this. He was also spotted already back in Cannes, and he’ll probably get something tomorrow.

ALTERNATE: Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color
I can see this following the scenario of The Master over at Venice last year. It’s the unanimously praise film that gets the jury pumped up. But since the top prize can’t win anything else, they’d have to settle giving the runner up prize to it in order to accommodate other noteworthy things about the film such as rewarding the lead actresses. It can be a battle between giving a sole top prize or settling for second with multiple mentions to go home.

PALME D’OR:

PREDICTION: Asghar Farhadi, “The Past
And I guess the top prize will be given to Farhadi’s The Past. It’s French, it has Farhadi, it’s the conventional choice, it made jury member Kidman in tears after leaving the screening. The Past seems to be the logical choice that will not be hated; after all, it got solid reviews, it’s not as particularly polarizing from the other commendable entries, and you know everyone is just in love with Asghar Farhadi right now. While this is no sure thing, I can see this getting the consensus pick among the jury members.

ALTERNATE: Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color
Lo and behold, this is really the film that towered among everyone else in terms of critical reception. It has already gained buzz and world interest, and the reviews are really staggering and far and away from the other contenders. The thing though that makes it an easy choice to win is that the theme might alienate others. We still don’t know for sure what type of jury is this, and we don’t know if they’re really gonna go for something as bold as this to receive the top prize. But as always, it can easily snoop in the top prize if it gets the jury fired up.

That’s it. I’m really excited to see a lot of entries from this year’s batch, as it’s one of the most lauded in years. I’m also gonna miss Legend Kidman’s red carpet appearances and teaching everyone how it’s done. I’m looking forward to the closing and awarding ceremonies later. Now, who are you rooting and predicting to win? Post it there in the Comments section.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl