From Asghar Farhadi to Nicolas Winding Refn, we're counting on a diverse slate
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5. "Twelve Years a Slave"
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Quvenzhané Wallis, Paul Giamatti, Adepero Odunye, Dwight Henry, Alfre Woodward
Brad Pitt is a regular fixture on the Cannes red carpet, though he'll have to share the spotlight with a mighty ensemble if Steve McQueen's eagerly awaited slavery drama is selected for the Competition, as many expect it to be. McQueen's brilliant debut, "Hunger," won him the Camera d'Or on the Croisette, though he switched to Venice for his similarly striking follow-up "Shame." The director's regular team -- including, of course, actor Michael Fassbender -- is on board for what appears to be his most expansive and ambitious work to date, an adaptation of Solomon Northup's classic 1853 memoir, recounting his experience as a free man in New York sold into slavery in the South before the Civil War. "Django Unchained" has rekindled audiences' awareness of, and interest in, this period of history, though McQueen's film promises a considerably more sober-minded take.