Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cannes ----> Oscar?!?!

Fun fact: only two movies have ever won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the Best Picture Academy Award.  Ever.  In history.  In that, it brings a certain irony that the festival strikes a chord and chill year after year for potential and future awards crystal ball gazing.  The last time Cannes and the Academy agreed was in 1955- for Marty, so it's not even a close record.  It's unsurprising that the cool and the fabulous creed that makes up the most esteemed film festival in history would veer off from the typically middlebrow consciousness of AMPAS naval-gazing.  It's a yearly document, however, of the lofty legacy of the year of cinema though and the Cannes programmers and the Hollywood distributors have perhaps always been bedfellows, even if the yearly jurors tend to dismiss the competition options that may have a chance of gold statutes in the their future.  Still, it would nice if one day Marty and Billy Wilder's 1964 addiction drama The Lost Weekend had some company.  Not that there haven't been contenders.  The following are films that won the Palme d'Or and collected a Best Picture nomination sans prize:

  • Friendly Persuasion (1957)
  • M*A*S*H (1970)
  • The Conversation (1974)
  • Taxi Driver (1976)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • All That Jazz (1980)
  • Missing (1982)
  • The Mission (1986)
  • The Piano (1993)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • Secrets & Lies (1996)
  • The Pianist (2002)
  • The Tree of Life (2011)
  • Amour (2012)

That's a rather nice company as well.  The Grand Prix (or Second Place Prize) has the distinction of all culminating in one eventual Best Picture Oscar nomination-- in that of the form of 1998's Life is Beautiful, while the Jury Prize (or Third Place) has All About Eve as the single film to get a Best Picture nomination-- it did win.  The Best Director Prize has never coincided with accompanying Academy Awards, even though the list of Cannes winners boasts an illustrious assortment of names with Academy pedigree-- only three that won ever received an Oscar nomination for the same film:
  • Joel Coen, Fargo (1996)
  • David Lynch, Mulholland Drive (1999)- shared with non-Oscar nominee Joel Coen for The Man Who Wasn't There
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Babel (2006)
Five men have won the Best Actor prize at Cannes and the Oscar:
  • Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend (1946)
  • Jon Voight, Coming Home (1978)
  • William Hurt, Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
  • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds (2009)- won Supporting Actor Oscar
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist (2011)
Seven other men received Oscar nominations for Cannes winning work:
  • Marlon Brando, Viva Zapata! (1952)
  • Spencer Tracy, Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  • Jack Nicholson, The Last Detail (1974)
  • Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome (1979)
  • Jack Lemmon, Missing (1982)
  • Bob Hoskins, Mona Lisa (1986)
  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful (2010)
The category that's been the strongest in correlation between Cannes and Oscar crossfire its been the Best Actress prize.  I'm not sure if that says something on the frequently lamented topic on great roles for women but the following women sparked Cannes and the Academy (in bold is where they won both prizes):
  • Bette Davis, All About Eve (1951)
  • Lee Grant, Detective Story (1952)- nominated for Supporting Actress
  • Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba (1953)
  • Susan Hayward, I'll Cry Tomorrow (1956)
  • Simone Signoret, Room at the Top (1959)
  • Melina Mercouri, Never on Sunday (1960)
  • Sophia Loren, Two Women (1961)
  • Katherine Hepburn, Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962)
  • Anne Bancroft, The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan! (1965)
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Isadora (1969)
  • Valerie Perrine, Lenny (1975)
  • Jill Clayburgh, An Unmarried Woman (1978)
  • Sally Field, Norma Rae (1979)
  • Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark (1989)
  • Holly Hunter, The Piano (1993)
  • Helen Mirren, The Madness of King George (1995)
  • Brenda Blethyn, Secrets & Lies (1996)
  • Penelope Cruz, Volver (2006)- Cannes rewarded the ensemble cast
 This years American options on the Croisette run the rampant of all-the-place on terms of potential Academy approval, not to mention that of jury president Steven Spielberg's.  On one hand, this years jury consists of one of the Oscariest ever-- president Spielberg is supported by Oscar-winning folk like Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz, yet the film line-up itself may or may not.  The Coen Brothers, a regular Cannes fixture and intermittent Oscar presence debuted their latest, Inside Llewyn Davis to favorable reviews, but it's also about American folk music.  Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh's allegedly final film which starred Michael Douglas as Liberace got some of the (if not the) best reviews for any American film at the Cannes this year- all the more striking that the film will premiere on HBO, rendering any Cannes awardage completely useless in terms of Oscar-gate.  The Immigrant, James Gray's new period piece starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard has an opportunity to be the filmmakers American breakthrough (he's far more regarded internationally) as the Weinstein Company will be releasing the film later this year, however it's muted reviews suggest that Cannes and the Academy will both likely be ignoring it.

Nebraska hopes to conquer Cannes, then Oscar.
The big gun comes in the form of Nebraska, Alexander Payne's latest film, a black and white, father and son road movie starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte-- reactions have been mixed, perhaps unsurprisingly since there's still debate over the fuss of his last film, The Descendants, but sentimental softie Spielberg as president may respond strongly, just as he may ignore it in an act of faith of sharing the awards love onto something that perhaps won't have a for sure awards run later this year-- Paramount Pictures is releasing the film this fall; similarly Inside Llewyn Davis has a prime December berth after upstart CBS Films scooped the film up before its Cannes debut.  It's likely a direct no for Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives, his follow-up to Drive also starring Ryan Gosling which earned mixed to bad reviews-- Refn won the Directors Prize in 2011 with Drive.

Of course, Cannes is anything if really American-centric, and there's a decent chance that all of the in competition films with American roots will walk away empty handed.  Others the mix with potential Academy something are The Past, Asghar Farhardi's follow-up to his Oscar-winning A Separation, which was nicely reviewed and stars The Artist's Berenice Bejo, who is granted permission to use her voice this time-- Sony Pictures Classics acquired the film shortly after it screened..  Le Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), from Paolo Sorrentino will perhaps be in the mix as well in a story about a writer recounting his youth, as may La Vie d'Adele (Blue is the Warmest Color), which has been getting talked up about as well.  Roman Polanski's Venus in Fur is the last to be screened in competition, so there strikes another possibility.

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