The Cannes Film Festival released its full list of films for this year's festival. The prestigious event includes some familiar names as well as some dark horse contenders for the coveted Palme d'Or (aka Best Picture award).
Here are twelve films screening at Cannes to keep a look-out for when they arrive in theaters later this year. Check out the full list of films here.
Earlier today, we shared two new trailers of Nicholas Winding Refn's dark crime story starring his Drive lead Ryan Gosling. Last year, Refn won the Cannes best director award for Drive and also picked up a nomination for the Palme d'Or. All that prior success has many short-listing this film as a strong contender for the award. Only God Forgives is slated to arrive in theaters on July 19.
Steven Soderbergh's final film stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover, Scott Thorson. Soderbergh's announced his pending retirement a couple years ago but new projects kept delaying his plans. Will the Cannes jury president Steven Spielberg and colleagues award Soderbergh with the Palme d'Or or best director as a parting gift? The film will air on HBO on May 26 and arrive in French theaters on September 18.
Roman Polanski is one of France's most beloved directors and his latest features two French leads, giving him an automatic home field boost. Add to that the fact that Polanski and Spielberg are good friends, even praising the director as the "perfect" director for Tintin back in 2011. The film is a small drama about an actress who attempts to convince a director that she's perfect for his upcoming movie. The last French movie to win the Palme d'Or was The Class (Entre les murs) in 2008.
Alexander Payne is back with a new drama about an aging alcoholic father who embarks on a trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son to claim a million dollar sweepstakes prize. Payne previous efforts – About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants - have been thoroughly awarded, including a Palme d'Or nomination for Schmidt back in 2002. Just based on reputation alone, Payne seems like a lock for many of the awards shows later on this year, but will he finally be able to win the prestigious Palme at Cannes? Nebraska stars Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Dern and Stacy Keach. The film doesn't have a release date yet, but should it achieve success at Cannes, look for it to possibly arrive late-2013.
Much of the attention for this film has been heaped on Harry Potter alum Emma Watson, but let's not forget the woman behind the camera. Sofia Coppola picked up an award and a Palme d'Or nomination for Marie Antoinette back in 2006, though her signature movie came two years earlier with Lost in Translation. Both Coppola and Watson are respected film talent with bright futures still ahead of them. Will the French crowd and Cannes jury award them for this film and future potential? The Bling Ring is slated for a limited release beginning June 14.
Speaking of promising talent, Fruitvale stars Michael B. Jordan as a young man living in the Bay Area of California who encounters friends, enemies, families and strangers on the last day of 2008. That may seem vague and the name might not be recognizable (yet) but you might recall Jordan as one of the super-powered teens in Chronicle, Tuskegee jet pilot Maurice Wilson in Red Tails or his excellent turn in the final three seasons of Friday Night Lights. Writer/director Ryan Coogler makes his feature film debut and has assembled an strong supporting cast around Jordan including Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and Be Kind Reweind's Melonie Diaz. Fruitvale premiered at Sundance earning overall strong reviews. The film will get a limited release beginning July 26.
Will the fourth time be the charm for James Gray? Previously nominated for the Palme d'Or for The Yards, We Own the Night and Two Lovers, Gray returns with The Immigrant (previously known as Lowlife and Nightingale), a romantic mystery-drama starring Jeremy Renner, Marion Cotillard and that guy who hates awards, Joaquin Phoenix. That's a pretty solid trio to throw into competition.The film follows an innocent immigrant woman who is tricked into a life of burlesque when a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is held captive on Ellis Island. Break out the tissues and get ready for a potential fourth nomination. The film is slated to hit theaters later this year.
Paolo Sorrentino. That name might not ring any bells, but the Italian director is a four-time Palme d'Or nominee, who has won two other Cannes Festival awards over his career. American audiences will probably know him best for last year's This Must Be the Place starring Sean Penn as a retired rock star. Bellezza tells the story of an aging writer who bitterly recalls his lost youth and is set against current-day Rome. It's slated for release across Europe in mid-May and mid-July and, depending on its success at Cannes, possibly arrive stateside later this year.
The Coen Bros. are back with their latest drama about a singer-songwriter and his experiences navigating New York's '60s folk music scene. Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan star with Coen Bros. regular John Goodman lending an assist and Oscar Isaac playing the title role. There's no domestic release date yet, though the film has slated itself for late-2013/early-2014 releases throughout Europe. Should their screening at Cannes generate buzz, look for a release date sometime later this year and the Coen's as strong awards contenders.
It's been 16 years since Japan last won a Palme d'Or and no, it wasn't a Kurosawa movie. Since then, cult auteur Takashi Miike has regularly made the trip to southern France with his variety of niche films. Miike returns this year with Straw Shield, an intense thriller starring Tatsuya Fujiwara (Battle Royale, Death Note). While that film may prove entertaining, the real focus is on Hirokazu Kore-eda. Kore-eda is a two-time Palme nominee for Distance and Nobody Knows and returns with the switched-at-birth drama Like Father Like Son. The film centers on a successful businessman who must choose his true son or the boy he raised on his own (because choosing both just wouldn't be dramatic enough, am I right?). The film is slated to release in Japan in early October.
Having Mads Mikkelsen as your lead almost automatically puts you as a candidate for various award nominations. Mikkelsen, who is currently starring in NBC's Hannibal and starred in last year's acclaimed foreign language drama A Royal Affair, plays a horse merchant who raises an army and ravages towns after suffering an injustice. The film comes from French director Arnaud des Pallieres who claimed the Bronze Horse at 2008's Stockholm Film Festival. No release date outside of Cannes has been slated for the film.
Remember the guy who directed A Separation? Wait, let's re-phrase that. Do you remember A Separation? Two years ago, the film was a breakout awards hit for director Asghar Farhadi. The film about a married couple who faced the difficult decision of improving the life of their child by moving to another country or staying in Iran to care for a deteriorating parent claimed 58 awards and landed in IMDb's Top 250. Now Farhadi is back, with Oscar nominated actress Berenice Bejo (The Artist) in The Past (Le Passe), a drama that examines the deterioration of relationships… at least that's what I gathered from the trailer.
So there you have them. The twelve films that are most likely to contend for a variety of awards at Cannes. The opening night movie will be Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby with the crime-thriller Zulu starring Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker closing the festival. Are there any films on this list that you are looking forward to seeing? Are there any that you think might be a strong contender later on this year when the awards race heats up again?