Fri. Aug 14th, 2020

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Predictions for the top prizes at the Cannes Film Festival are never easy. While there are critics’ reviews and polls upon polls to guide you there are two factors at hand that come into play in a much more important way. The first being the main jury is only made up of nine people, including its president. A Cannes In Competition president can be passive and more democratic with his or her jury or they can be notoriously authoritarian and ‘my way or the highway’ their choice to the top. The second factor is that no single In Competition film can win more than two prizes and even if it does earn two it can never be the Palme d’Or or Grand Prize and something else. You can thank Barton Fink for that. Back in 1991 the film famously won the Palme, Director (for the Coen Brothers) and Actor (for John Turturro). After that, the festival set rules so that no single film could dominate the top awards again. They do, however, allow ties in any category (but only one) except the Palme. 2015 saw Best Actress tie for Rooney Mara (Carol) and Emmanuelle Bercort (Mon roi). One thing I’ve been toying with is the idea of all of the actresses of The Beguiled (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, Emma Howard, Addison Riecke and Oona Laurence) collectively winning the Best Actress prize. It would be ironic (and a bit too on the nose perhaps) since that happened in 2006 to the female ensemble of Volver, directed by this year’s president Pedro Almodóvar.

That’s what makes predicting so hard. Sometimes a win seems super random but only because a jury liked it but had to shoehorn it into somewhere unexpected in order to spread the wealth. Back in 2013 many expected Asghar Farhadi’s The Past to win the Palme and possibly a dual win for Blue is the Warmest Color‘s Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Best Actress. But the Steven Spielberg-led jury flipped the script and gave The Past‘s Bérénice Bejo Best Actress and BITWC the Palme and in the process making a first-ever exception and awarded it to not just director Abdellatif Kechiche but also to the two lead actresses.

This year finds an In Competition slate that is extremely competitive, being populated by works from Todd Haynes, Yorgos Lanthimos, Ruben Östlund and two-time Palme winner Michael Haneke. Will the multiple films that Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Elle Fanning work in their favor for an acting prize? If we go by reviews the top films are 12o Battements par Minute from Robin Campillo and The Day After from Hong Sang-hoo. On the lower end, Rodin from Jacques Doillon and Jupiter’s Moon from Kornél Mandruczo are among the worst reviewed. Will that matter? We’ve often seen poorly reviewed films secure major wins (that Best Director win for Amat Escalante’s Heli in 2013 comes to mind) so don’t be surprised if one of those is announced at Sunday’s awards ceremony. Also, don’t count out Palme-thirsty Naomi Kawase. This is her fifth In Competition film, having won the Grand Prize of the Jury in 2007 for Mogari no mori but the Palme has always eluded her and she’s been very vocal about wanting that top prize.

I’m predicting Nicole Kidman to win for The Killing of a Sacred Deer and not just because I stan for the Oscar-winning actress. With four projects at Cannes, two of which are in competition, that could foretell this as inevitable but she will have formidable competition from Diane Kruger (In the Fade), Vasilina Makovceva (A Gentle Creature) and Maryana Spivak (Loveless). I honestly wouldn’t put it past this jury to give Isabelle Huppert (Happy End) a record third win here either.

Is it too reductive to say that 120 Battements par minute stands to win as a gay film from a jury with a gay president right after a gay film won the Best Picture Oscar? Maybe, but it would be incredible nonetheless and the film has been one of best received of the fest. It’s hard to imagine Todd Haynes going home empty-handed this weekend but Wonderstruck doesn’t feel like a Palme winner. Same goes for Michael Haneke (Happy End) although his chances seem less likely. Loveless or The Day After are the Palme spoilers for me.

Best Actor feels like a race between Robert Pattinson getting career best reviews for Good Time and Jérémie Renier playing dual roles in L’amant double. But watch out for Dustin Hoffman (The Meyerowitz Stories), Colin Farrell (like Kidman, has two in competition films – the same ones) and especially Louis Garrell playing Jean-Luc Godard in Le redoubtable.

Here is a list of the most used aggregate polls of the festival:

German poll:
Ion cinema:
Chinese poll:
Screen Daily:…ontentID=43747

The winners of this year’s Cannes Film Festival will be announced during the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, May 28 and stay tuned to our Twitter feed for live updates.

Here are my predictions for the In Competition film prizes:

Palme d’Or

120 Battements par Minute (Robin Campillo)

Grand Prize of the Jury

Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev)

Jury Prize

Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes)

Best Actor

Robert Pattinson (Good Time)

Best Actress

Nicole Kidman (The Killing of a Sacred Deer)

Best Director

Ruben Östlund (The Square)

Best Screenplay

The Day After (Hong Sang-soo)
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