The speculation here at the 65th Cannes Film Festival is not quite about who is going to win the Palm d’Or as it is about who is set to run into the Oscar race early next year. True, the Academy Awards may be many months away, but that is the statuette which is creating all the buzz, not the Palm medals.
Michael Haneke’s (remember his Funny Games years ago that provoked men and women in the auditorium to puke) Love has already been declared, albeit unofficially, as the sure winner in the Best Foreign Language Picture category. Haneke’s most tender work till date, Love in French is about a couple in their eighties who are suddenly faced with disease and death.
Marion Cotillard’s wonderfully arresting performance as a killer whale trainer in Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone is being tossed around as the clincher in the acting category.
Although, it is miles to go for the Red Carpet at the Kodak Theatre from the steps of the Palace at Cannes, and often the movies shown here become mere afterthoughts by the year-end, last year’s Festival lineup was a brilliant exception. The black and white The Artist, which played at the last Cannes Festival, walked away with the Best Picture Oscar. And Midnight in Paris and The Tree of Life, the 2011 hot favourites of Cannes, were nominated in the Best Picture category.
Soon after the official screening of Rust and Bone here, critics gave a thumbs up for it. They were betting for it at the Academy Awards. And Cotillard – who loses her legs to a rogue whale and hobbles through the rest of the work sans make up – is quite likely to be a hot favourite with the Academy voters, who love such unpainted looks and honest portrayals.
The critics were even more excited about Love, which they felt was a sure shot.
This is not all. Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, about two runaway kids who decide to get married, appeared to be in the ring – much like Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, also a Cannes opener, was last year.
The Oscars also seems to be beckoning Lawless, a prohibition era drama by John Hillcoat, Walter Salles On the Road and Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy.
Oh well, Cannes is beginning to increasingly look like the gateway to the kingdom of Oscars.