No one can see everything that is shown in competition at the Cannes Film Festival – there were 21 titles in the mix this year – and I certainly didn’t. So, without passing judgment on all the titles that goods recognized with awards on Saturday, I must say I am struck by the fact that all five eligible English language titles – Wes Andersen‘s Asteroid City, Jean-Stephane Sauvaire‘s Black flies, Karim Ainouz‘s Firefire, Todd Haynes‘s may december And Ken Loch‘s The old oak — were completely overlooked by the jury.
Needless to say, it is not the mandate of the Cannes jury – wherever this year, among others Paul Dano, Brian Larson and recent Palme d’Or winners Ruben Ostlund (from 2017 The square and that of 2022 Triangle of sadness) and that of 2021 Juliet Ducournau (titan) – to try and predict the Oscar race. But it is still remarkable to me that after a number of years in a row there is a significant overlap between Cannes jurors’ choices and the Academy’s choices – particularly when Parasite won the top prizes from both – it seems unlikely there will be many if any this year.
The Academy is, of course, primarily attracted to English-language work, even as it becomes a more international organization. And there’s plenty of academy-friendly work in the five overlooked English-language titles, especially the outstanding performances of Natalie Portman And Julianne Moore as an actress and the woman she will play as, respectively may decemberthat Netflix bought for $11 million during the party and plans to win prizes; Alicia Vicander And Jude law as Katherine Parr and King Henry VIII, respectively, in Firefire, which is still seeking distribution in the US; And Ty Sheridan And Sean Penn as a young man preparing for medical school and an experienced paramedic, respectively, in Black flieswhich Open Road will distribute in America.
Two other English-language films that played at the festival, albeit out of competition, are sure to get major Oscar pushes: Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the flower moonfrom Paramount and Apple TV+, with notable turns Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Robert de Niro And Jesse Plemons (Scorsese and his backers chose not to show it in competition); and Pixar’s latest, Elementarywhich ended the party.
What about the movies that goods honored?
The one with the greatest Oscar potential could well become a Grand Prix winner The interest zoneBritish filmmaker Jonathan Glaser‘s German-language portrait of the life of the Höss family just outside the gates of Auschwitz, a true study of the banality of evil. It’s sure to get an Oscar push from A24, which also covered Glazer’s most recent previous film, Under the skin, a decade ago; as was the case with that project, I have no doubt this will be widely embraced by critics – but I’m not totally sold on it being the Academy’s tea. Even the way it starts, with a few minutes of blank screen, struck many I consulted with as pretentious, and might lose interest to Academy members trying to watch it at home on the Academy members-only streaming service.
It seems unlikely to me that Germany would choose to submit as its entry to the Oscar race for best international feature film a film by a non-German filmmaker and/or a film that reflects badly on the behavior of the German population during World War II. So the strongest Oscar candidate for the movie might just be the leading lady, Sandra Hullerwho plays Mrs. Höss The interest zone — and also stars in the film that won the Palme d’Or, Justine Trie‘s Anatomy of a fall, in which she plays a writer trying to prove her innocence after her husband’s death. (Had Hüller’s films not walked away with the festival’s top two prizes, it seems likely she would have been recognized with the Best Actress award, but juries at Cannes generally prefer to disperse their honors. )
Anatomy of a fall is distributed in the US by Neon, which also handled the US distribution of the last French film to win the Palm, titan, which was eventually submitted by France as an Oscar entry, but was not shortlisted. This season, France will have to decide whether or not to surrender Anatomy of a fall or the movie for which Tran Anh Hung was awarded the prize for best director, The Pot-au-Feuin which French favorites shine Juliette Binoche And Benoît Magimel and may have more mainstream appeal. The Pot-au-Feu is still seeking distribution in the US.
A jury prize went to Fallen leavesthe latest film by the Finnish master Aki Kaurismakiwho previously represented his country in the Best International Feature Film Oscar Race with 1996’s Floating clouds, who was disqualified; 2002 The man without a past, which was nominated; 2006 Lights at dusk, until it was withdrawn; and that of 2011 Le Havre, who was not nominated. MUBI will distribute it in the US
The best screenplay was awarded to Yuji Sakamoto for the Japanese movie Samplewhich was directed by Hirokazu Kore-edawho previously represented his country with 2004’s Nobody knows, who was not nominated; and that of 2018 Shoplifters, which was nominated. It is still seeking distribution in the US.
Merve Dizdar won best actress for her role in Turkish film About dry grasseswhich was directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylonwho previously represented his country with 2003’s Far away, who was not nominated; 2008 Three monkeys, which was shortlisted; 2011 Once upon a time in Anatolia, who was not nominated; 2014 Hibernation, who was not nominated; and that of 2018 The wild pear tree, who was not nominated. It is still seeking distribution in the US.
And then there is the great Japanese actor Koji Yakushowho was awarded the Best Actor Award Perfect daysa Japanese-German co-production directed by the legendary German filmmaker William Wenders. Neon would make a deal for the film’s distribution rights in the US. Wenders previously represented Germany with 1977’s The American Friend, who was not nominated; years 1987 Wings of desire, who was not nominated; and that of 2011 pina, which was shortlisted. But it remains to be seen whether Japan or Germany would submit a co-production this season.