As the Cannes Film Festival gets underway, one thing that’s glaringly obvious is that this year’s version of the fest is a little lower than usual when it comes to A-list fare. To be sure, the festival isn’t just about big names and prestige pictures, but there frankly are usually more to sort through. Still, 2018’s incarnation of Cannes could potentially have more than its share of awards season players. At this point, we just have to speculate on which they might be. So, that’s exactly what I’m doing today. Especially with last night launching Everybody Knows as the Opening Night Selection, it’s a good time to do just that. Here goes nothing…
In case you’re curious, last year at the festival, Loveless and The Square were the only two titles to go from Cannes to the Academy Awards. They both fell short in Best Foreign Language Feature, but at least the got nominated. Other films thought to have potential all fell short, namely BPM (Beats Per Minute), The Beguiled, Good Time, Happy End, In the Fade, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), Okja, and Wonderstruck, at least among the In Competition titles. One other movie, You Were Never Really Here, only first came out this year, so it’s at least potentially one to look for come awards season, but that’s a long shot at best.
Below are five titles at Cannes that could end up as Oscar players if all goes well:
BlacKkKlansman – Spike Lee heads to Cannes with his very timely film. Sight unseen, it does seem like a potential Best Picture player, considering the subject matter and how perfect Lee is as a filmmaker for this one. Adam Driver and John David Washington also represent Acting possibilities here. Expect some controversy, but if the reviews are good, Lee might be finally embraced by Oscar. At the very least, this is a dark horse at this early juncture.
Everybody Knows – Last night, the fest opened with Asghar Farhadi’s latest, and the reviews were actually somewhat mixed. Plenty loved it, as per the usual for Farhadi, but some pundits did find it to be a definite step down from his other work. Still, even mid level Farhadi is still probably something worth seeing, especially with Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz in tow. If nothing else, it seems safe as a Best Foreign Langue Feature player?
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – At long last, Terry Gilliam got his passion project to the finish line. The odds don’t exactly favor this one dominating the Academy Awards, but if it turns out really well (anything is possible right now), voters may want to reward Gilliam’s Quixotic quest to get this movie made. Time will tell there, but it’s a situation worth pondering, at least…
Solo: A Star Wars Story – Technically a special screening, still…with a lineup as sparse as this one, we have to include it. Probably among the likeliest players, since it’ll be a technical category hopeful, this Han Solo origin story is hotly anticipated. Ron Howard has been to Cannes as well as the Oscars before, so there’s definitely a pedigree here. Don’t expect Best Picture buzz, but the first reviews will be as highly sought after as any at the fest.
Under the Silver Lake – David Robert Mitchell blew everyone away a few years ago with It Follows, and now he returns with his next movie, which looks like a slightly less trippy version of Inherent Vice. Perhaps we’ll see Andrew Garfield get some Best Actor heat from this one? Mitchell in Screenplay is another consideration. Regardless, it’s the entry into the Competition at Cannes that I’m most excited to see.
Right now, it’s all guesswork. All five of these movies could be players, or none of them could be. Ultimately, the odds favor at least one surviving at least until the precursors begin. None of them are obvious fits, so who knows, maybe the big awards vehicle could be something else entirely? One of the lower profile foreign flicks certainly could cakewalk to Best Foreign Language Feature if it blows everyone away. We shall see. For now, the five films above are definitely among the most exciting screening at Cannes. We already have an idea about how Everybody Knows is, but the rest will reveal itself in the days to come….
Stay tuned to see how all of these films do at the festival!