Anderson, Cronenberg earn Oscar buzz at Cannes
Director Wes Anderson poses for a portrait to promote his film 'Moonrise Kingdom' at the 65th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Friday, May 18, 2012. (AP / Jonathan Short)
Published Saturday, May 26, 2012 3:10PM EDT
Another star-stacked, glam-packed edition of the Cannes Film Festival concludes on May 27, and as the end nears critics are jacking up the debate over potential frontrunners for Oscar gold in 2013.
It's too soon to tell if another underdog movie such as "The Artist" will emerge from this year's competition at the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival.
Dark tales of crime and romance have certainly earned critics' praises, such as the Brad Pitt crime drama "Killing Them Softly."
There's no certainty that this pick and others can parlay any early momentum into an Oscar sweep in 2013. But if the critics are right, these films will be among the nominees at next year's Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" commanded the opening-night slot at Cannes, and its quirky look at young love scored rave reviews. Set in the 1960s, the story centres on two kids who flee from a New England summer camp to explore the world. Newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman delighted audiences as the film's kids on the run. The parents and personnel who search for the missing youths also turn in fine performances. Those desperate searchers include Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Harvey Keitel. Anderson's is no stranger to Oscar buzz. The 43-year-old director from Houston, Texas earned an Oscar nod for Best Screenplay in 2002 for "The Royal Tenenbaums and a nomination for Best Animated Film in 2010 for "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Anderson may be a little too quirky for Hollywood's tastes, but the whimsical "Moonrise Kingdom" could charm Oscar voters for a third time.
Rust and Bone
Film critics were already making their predictions at Cannes about 36-year-old French actress Marion Cotillard, the star of the new drama "Rust and Bone." According to these experts, Cotillard will be "the" Best Actress contender to beat at the 2013 Academy Awards. Cotillard headlines this unusual tale from director Jacques Audiard about an Orca whale trainer who falls for a down-and-out boxer (Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts). But their romance is tested once tragedy comes into their lives. "Marion Cotillard excels," tweeted Toronto critic Peter Howell from Cannes, while others predicted certain Oscar nominations for Cotillard and the film's script. In 2008, Cotillard took home the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of French singer Edith Piaff's in the film "La Vie en Rose. Her dark, edgy turn in "Rust and Bone" could bring Cotillard Oscar No. 2.
Killing Them Softly
Brad Pitt returned to Cannes this year to promote "Killing Them Softly," a hard-boiled crime drama from Aussie director Andrew Dominik. This dark, gritty flick tells the tale of a mob enforcer who is brought in to clean up a crooked poker game. The film also co-stars James Galdolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, and Sam Shepard. Pitt and Dominik worked together on the 2007 film, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," where Pitt played the famed American outlaw James. Pitt is also no stranger to Oscar nominations. The 48-year-old star earned a Best Actor nod in 2012 for the sports drama, "Moneyball." It seems unlikely that Oscar voters would ignore the Hollywood A-lister in 2013.
To the chagrin of his fans, Canadian director David Cronenberg has never been nominated an Oscar -- even with such fine works to his credit in recent years as "A History of Violence," "Eastern Promises" and "A Dangerous Method." His latest film, "Cosmopolis," could finally break that track record. Based on the novel "Cosmopolis" by Don DeLillo, this adaptation stars "Twilight" hunk Robert Pattinson as a womanizing billionaire who travels across Manhattan one day to get a haircut. That journey inadvertently takes the cold, detached man into the lives of several disparate characters, including a stalker and a mistress. Cronenberg amassed a fine ensemble cast for this project, including Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, Kevin Durand, Samantha Morton, and Canadian star Jay Baruchel. "Cosmopolis" also shows, yet again, just how far Cronenberg also come from his 70s' horror roots in films such as "Shivers," "The Brood" and "Scanners."
Cannes rolled out the red carpet for "Lawless," a Prohibition-era crime drama from "The Road" director John Hillcoat. Once again, dark, edgy action captivated critics in this tale about three bootlegging brothers who will do almost anything to turn a buck in Franklin County, Virginia. The film's cast features a strategic blend of young talents and vets, including Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska. That blend should help this pick at the box office later this summer, when "Lawless" opens in North America, and with Oscar voters in 2013.
"Precious" director Lee Daniels returned to Cannes with "The Paperboy," another gritty gem culled from the dark side of humanity. Based on the 1995 novel, "The Paperboy," by American author Pete Dexter, Daniels's adaptation tells the tale of a jaded reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his naïve younger brother (Zack Efron) on a tough case. Together, they investigate a grisly murder to exonerate a man on death row (John Cusack). The Oscar buzz for this one is strong, particularly for Daniels and Nicole Kidman who plays Charlotte Bless, the woman who sets this search for the truth into motion.
Matthew McConaughey had a busy time at Cannes this year, appearing in this second noteworthy drama called "Mud." Compared by some critics to 2011's weird, slow-boiling psychological drama "Take Shelter," "Mud" follows a pair of teenaged boys who have hidden an escaped fugitive (McConaughey). The boys do this in hopes of helping the desperate man reunite with his lover Juniper, played by Reese Witherspoon. The indie flick lacked a big distributor as it went into the Cannes Film Festival. But that fact didn't keep critics from giving this edgy flick the thumbs up.