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.
A weak year for awards season on the Croissete
For both good and bad reasons
CANNES - Spend a few days at a major film festival and it won't take long to run into someone who has an opinion on a movie. With the end of the 66th Cannes Film Festival drawing near, it's intriguing to look at some of the films that have generated a lot of buzz over the past week and a half.
Are people still talking about films from the beginning of the festival? Well, in the case of"Great Gatsby," "Jeune & Jolie" and "Bling Ring" they've almost been forgotten. "Jimmy P"? This year's consensus whipping boy (and for obvious reasons). "Only Lovers Left Alive"? The latest polarizing title that seems split down the middle. There haven't been a lot of god awful movies at this Cannes, but opinions certainly vary.
With that in mind, here are 10 other films everyone's been talking about and my quick opinions on each.
Working on already infamous 'Gun' is 'so much fun'
CANNES - This is not Noah Emmerich's first trip to the Croisette. The character actor who has appeared in films such as "Little Children," "Super 8" and who now stars as FBI agent Stan Beeman in FX's hit series "The Americans" journeyed to Cannes for the premiere of Doug Liman's "Fair Game" three years ago. Now, he's back to support the ensemble of "Blood Ties" where he plays a NYPD police captain caught in the middle of two feuding brothers (Clive Owen, Billy Crudup) in Guillaume Canet's English-language remake of the 2008 French film "Rivals." It's a nice break for Emmerich whose in the middle of shooting the troubled and controversial Western "Jane's Got A Gun."
But will you care at the end?
CANNES - Two years ago, at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, J.C. Chandor made his feature film debut with "Margin Call." The drama about a Wall Street investment bank on the verge of collapse featured a prestige-worthy cast and received solid reviews, but got lost as an out of competition premiere in Park City. Eight months later, however, it became one of the first true direct to VOD success stories and earned Chandor his first Oscar nomination in the best original screenplay category. Now, he returns with a much different film, "All Is Lost," which debuted today at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
J.T. on a 'mission to be continually inspired'
CANNES - It goes without saying that Justin Timberlake's come a long way. I remember chatting with him and a very young Anton Yelchin at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival about Nick Cassavetes' underrated "Alpha Dog." Timberlake was prepping "FutureSex/LoveSounds" at the time and this was a pre-"Sexy Back" world, but Timberlake's enthusiasm for his Sundance debut was evident. It wasn't clear whether Timberlake enjoyed the art form of acting or whether he saw this as another outlet for his own work, but you could see even then this wasn't going to be a one time thing.
T Bone Burnett spills the beans...a bit early
CANNES - Quick bit from the Croisette. The festival is still coming off a high following the rapturous premiere of the Coen Bros. "Inside Llewyn Davis" Sunday evening and, most likely, many members of the audience still have a song or two from the film's early '60s folk soundtrack stuck in their head.
Is it possible to make these kids sympathetic?
CANNES - Sofia Coppola is a bit tired. As we sit down for one of her last interviews of the day it's clear she's lost a wee bit of enthusiasm to talk once again about the world of celebrity culture her characters in "The Bling Ring" are obsessed with. She succinctly notes, "You can't really look at US Weekly as in the same way after making this movie."
Where was Peeta?
CANNES - Lionsgate tried to bring a taste of the "Hunger Games" to Cannes Saturday night with a Capitol City party on the Croisette in honor of the upcoming sequel "Catching Fire." After grossing $400 million in the U.S. you might wonder why the studio would shell out big bucks to trek stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and new cast member Sam Clafin to the south of France for one day of red carpets and a swank beachfront party. This wasn't about America, though, this was about the world.
Love and radiation in a nuclear world
CANNES - After making her feature film debut with 2010's "Belle Epine," director Rebecca Zlotowski returns to Cannes with the compelling new drama "Grand Central." While Zlotowski benefits from the presence of a number of critically acclaimed French actors this is the sort sophomore jump that will cement her status as one to watch within the global filmmaking community.
Harvey holds court with Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara
CANNES - Harvey Weinstein took center stage Friday evening as The Weinstein Company held what has become a semi-annual preview of the rest of their yearly slate for select members of the domestic and international press corps at Cannes. In the past Weinstein has used this event to tease expected players such as "Nine" and "My Week with Marilyn." Last year, however, the event created a tremendous amount of buzz after a surprise 10-minute-plus first look at "Django Unchained" as well as sneaks of Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" and David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook."
This time around, "Grace of Monaco," featuring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, "August: Osage County," starring Meryl Streep and an all-star cast and "Mandela: A Long Road to Freedom," starring Idris Elba as the legendary South African civil rights leader, were the more anticipated sneaks. And yet it was "Only God Forgives" star Kristin Scott Thomas who unexpectedly stole the show. More on that later. First let's get to the awards season players.