CANNES – The granddaddy of global film festivals has always had an up and down relationship with Oscar. Over the past few years Best Picture nominees such as “Amour,” “Midnight in Paris,” “The Tree of Life,” “Inglorious Basterds,” “Babel” and “Up” had their world premiere’s on the Croisette. Debuts “The Artist” and “No Country For Old Men” even went on to win the Best Picture prize. Before 2007, however, the pickings were slim for decades. For every “Pulp Fiction” and “Moulin Rouge!” there were multiple years where awards season and Cannes barely intertwined. 2013 looks like something of a mixed bag for films hoping to find recognition from the Academy down the road. Let’s take a look at each major category and which contenders emerged from this year’s Cannes.
The truth is the only real player here is “Inside Llewyn Davis.” The Coen Bros. dramedy will play even better stateside than at Cannes and producer Scott Rudin and CBS Films (with veteran Oscar marketing maven Terry Press in charge) have a careful plan in place to make sure they don’t gain or lose too much momentum (again, that’s the plan). The only other film that could have a chance is J.C. Chandor’s “All Is Lost,” which debuted out of competition. If this turns out to be a weak Best Picture year (which is looking more and more likely when you skim the release schedule), “Lost” is the sort of film that the directing and acting branches could really embrace. Maybe.
The Coen Bros. have a real shot here depending how the rest of the year shakes out. J.C. Chandor will also be a dark horse candidate. For those wondering if Alexander Payne is a player for “Nebraska,” well, maybe for an Indie Spirit.
This is where things get very interesting, Pt. 1. “Inside Llewyn Davis” star Oscar Isaac seems like a shoo-in, but only if he campaigns and can get the always important SAG block behind him on both coasts. Robert Redford goes through hell and back in “All is Lost” and it screams of the sort of Oscar-bait performance from a veteran actor the Academy can’t ignore. Plus, Redford has only been nominated as actor once and that was for “The Sting” way back in 1974. Considering his accomplishments with Sundance and as a filmmaker, this might become this season’s biggest shoo-in (maybe). Of course, Michael Douglas arguably gave the performance of the festival in “Behind the Candelabra,” but the film’s debut on HBO nixes any Oscar chances. He could be nominated for a BAFTA though (“Behind” is being released theatrically in Europe) and will win every Emmy, Globe and SAG honor he’s eligible for over the next year or so.
This is where things get very interesting, Pt. 2. Marion Cotillard was the Queen of this year’s Cannes with turns in both “Blood Ties” and “The Immigrant.” The latter may be one of her best performances since she won the Oscar for “La Vie en Rose.” The question is whether The Weinstein Company will push her candidacy or not. Cotillard barely missed out on a nomination last year for “Rust and Bone” (she snagged a SAG nod), but does she want to go through the campaigning circuit all over again just one year later? To be determined. Another French-speaking actress who could land a nomination is Bérénice Bejo for “The Past.” Bejo is already an Academy favorite after landing a supporting actress nomination for “The Artist” and she’s 100 times more impressive in this speaking role. The acting competition for the ladies is going to be very tight this year, however. Critics will adore Adèle Exarchopoulos in “Blue is the Warmest Color” (do I hear a LAFCA honor in the distance?), but it would be shocking for the French phenomenon to land a Golden Globe nod, let alone an Oscar nod.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
John Goodman in “Inside Llewyn Davis” is your best bet here. Goodman almost steals the movie and it’s amazing that he still doesn’t have an Oscar nomination to his credit. This could be his best chance in years. (UPDATE: Now that Bruce Dern has won the Best Actor award at the fest, and given that Paramount is considering a supporting actor campaign for the actor, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include him here as well.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Carey Mulligan has a very, very slim shot for her hilarious turn in “Inside Llewyn Davis,” but right now it seems like a bit of a reach. Many will dream that Kristin Scott Thomas finds some love for her inspired turn in “Only God Forgives,” but that’s a bigger reach than Mulligan.
BEST ORIGINAL or ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Coens are lock for an original screenplay nomination (go to Vegas and bet on it now) for “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Asghar Farhadi, who was nominated for “A Separation” in 2012, could repeat that feat with “The Past.” J.C. Chandor was previously nominated for “Margin Call,” also in 2012. The original category is always so weak, you could have three of your nominees right here.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
France will likely submit “Blue is the Warmest Color.” Whether the picture can get past the (sometimes) conservative screening process remains to be seen. Japan’s “Like Father, Like Son” doesn’t have just a great chance to be nominated, but might be the leading contender already.
What are your thoughts on the Oscar chances for the Cannes films this season? Share your thoughts below.