Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

It's been about two and a half months since Oscar Talk went on hiatus. When we last left our heroes the 2011 Oscar season had drawn to a close. That season started in earnest with the premiere of "The Artist" at the Cannes Film Festival. This year's fest is nearing its end. What clues has it offered for the upcoming awards season? Anne is there with our own Guy Lodge (I'm in Pittsburgh, so we're kind of scattered). So, on the docket today...

Lee Daniels is back after the strong 2009 showing of "Precious" with "The Paperboy," which was fresh on Anne and Guy's minds when we recorded. It seems to be a film yielding split but interesting reactions.

We backtrack a bit to the start of the fest with the opening night premiere of "Moonrise Kingdom," which I also saw (opening today) and quite liked.

The Palme d'Or seems to be leaning toward films like "Holy Motors," "Amour" and "Rust and Bone." There's discussion on those, as well as Director's Fortnight winner "No."

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is also playing the fest in advance of its upcoming summer US opening and capitalizing on already sterling reactions out of January's Sundance fest. It's playing Un Certain Regard, but perhaps it's a threat for the Camera d'Or?

And among other things, Harvey Weinstein is ubiquitous at the fest this year with films like "Killing Them Softly" and "Lawless" in tow and pick-ups aplenty, not to mention a screening of footage from TWC's upcoming awards slate. But is it as strong a presence as he's had at recent fests that yielded buzz waves for films like "Inglourious Basterds" and the aforementioned "The Artist?" Maybe not.

No reader questions this week. We'll be back around the release of "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20 with another off-season take, so we'll solicit queries then. Have a listen to the new podcast below. Apologies for the audio issues, as Anne's situation was less than ideal (and we even lost her for a bit mid-way through). If the file cuts off for you at any time, try the back-up download link at the bottom of this post. And as always, remember to subscribe to Oscar Talk via iTunes here.

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"Killing Me Softly" courtesy of Fugees and Ruffhouse/Columbia.
Music from "Beasts of the Southern Wild" courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

OSCAR TALK: Ep. 85