Tomorrow begins the Cannes Film Festival, which marks the true beginning of the new Oscar race. Many of this year's most highly anticipated films will be screening for the first time at Cannes, and their reception here will have a definite (sometimes defining) effect upon their prospects in the coming year.
Last year's festival saw the launch of eventual Best Picture winner The Artist as well as its fellow nominees Midnight in Paris and The Tree of Life. It also launched eventual Foreign Language contender Footnote and quality films like Drive, Melancholia, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.
Some films of note at this year's festival include:
1. Amour - Michael Haneke's follow up to Foreign Film nominee The White Ribbon starring Isabelle Huppert (White Material, I Heart Huckabees), Jean-Louis Trintignant (Three Colors: Red, The Conformist), and William Shimell (Certified Copy).
2. Cosmopolis - Director David Cronenberg's (The Fly, A History of Violence) newest starring Robert Pattinson (yes, that one), Jay Baruchel (How To Train Your Dragon, Million Dollar Baby), Juliette Binoche, and Paul Giamatti.
3. Killing Them Softly - Andrew Dominick (The Assassination of Jesse James) reteams with Brad Pitt in this gangland adventure co-starring James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Richard Jenkins.
4. Lawless - This Depression era crime drama is being backed by Harvey Weinstein so it's gonna be pushed for something. The cast is full of acting possibilities with Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska (oh, and Shia LaBeouf). John Hillcoat (The Road) directs.
5. Moonrise Kingdom - The lastest film from Wes Anderson (Royal Tennenbaums, Rushmore) is a tale of star crossed young lovers and the town that tears itself apart searching for them. Stars Norton, Willis, Murray, Swinton, Keitel, and McDormand, so...
6. Mud - Take Shelter was one of my favorite 2011 movies so I can't wait to see director Jeff Nichols follow up, Mud. Stars Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Shannon, and Sarah Paulson.
7. On the Road - Director Walter Salles (Central Station, The Motorcycle Diaries) finally brings his adaptation of the classic Jack Kerouac book to the screen. Cast includes Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Steve Buscemi, and Terrence Howard.
8. The Paperboy - This is director Lee Daniel's long awaited follow up to Precious starring Zac Efron, John Cusack, Nichole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, and Scott Glenn.
9. Rust and Bone - It may be Audiard (The Prophet) vrs. Haneke in the foreign film competition again this year. My money is on Audiard's Rust and Bone (especially with star Marion Cotillard in tow, LOVE her).
10. Beasts of the Southern Wild - Will its post Sundance trajectory be more Precious or Martha Marcy Mae Marlene? This will be the first indicator.
All of that said, The Artist probably would not have even been on the ten most anticipated list so anything is possible. We'll do some state of the buzz type columns after we see how these films are received.