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Can the Cannes Awards Impact the Oscar Race

Now that the Cannes awards have been handed out, some might wonder whether any of the films honored will make it all the way to the Oscars. The same films I thought had a chance at the beginning — Foxcatcher and Mr. Turner — still have a good chance, both collecting hardware today.

Not winning any awards but with their eyes clearly aimed at the awards race would include The Homesman (just picked up by Saban with the agreement for an awards campaign), and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. But let’s look at the awards at Cannes that might have the biggest impact:

1. a nomination for Julianne Moore, Best Actress winner for Maps to the Stars

It’s been a while since the Best Actress winner at Cannes was nominated for an Oscar, and even longer (1993’s The Piano, coincidentally) that an actress won both. That could change this year with Julianne Moore’s brilliant turn in David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars. If it were anyone else but Moore it would be an easy call that the Academy will snub her. In fact, they still might. And in fact, they probably will. But if they do they will be revealing their vanity, and their collective lack of self-awareness and that would be a shame. But because it’s Julianne Moore, who is currently without a single Oscar win, there is a slightly better chance that Moore will, in fact, be recognized. Another potential reason: The Best Actress category these days is always so spare. I’m going to put my chips behind Moore, and behind Bruce Wagner’s exceptional screenplay (the WGA should not overlook this kind of brilliance). I would also tip a hat to Cronenberg for director but very likely that won’t happen.

Maps to the Stars is going to freak out Hollywood. That’s just the fact of the matter. It is like showing the leaks at the bottom of a sinking boat. Can they pull back long enough to appreciate what a great movie it is? Or will they, like they did with the Player, get a little too uncomfortable, see a little too much that looks familiar to face themselves the next morning. Will they, won’t they. Who knows. It’s a great film, well worth seeing anyway.

2. Bennett Miller will lead Foxcatcher towards multiple nominations. Miller is in extraordinarily good company having won this award, jointing Francois Truffaut for 400 Blows, Terrence Malick for Days of Heaven, the Coens for Fargo, The Coens again for The Man Who Wasn’t There, sharing with David Lynch for Mullholland Drive, etc. But it does not necessarily translate to an Oscar nomination, and even less so for a win. But given Miller’s record so far, given that the performances will be recognized – though it’s a cold, hard sell to a group seeking feelgoodism – it still seems as though this only helps Miller and Foxcatcher along the way.

3. Palme d’Or – Winter Sleep will very likely get into the foreign language race where it likely will not win, given how they vote and given that the members don’t even have to see all of the films anymore – they just have to pretend they have. Nonetheless, it is likely for a nod.

4. Timothy Spall could be (and should be) in line for a Best Actor nod. It will be, as it always is, an incredibly packed lineup for Best Actor. Steve Carell could end up being the one who gets in from Cannes and not Spall. Still, there is no reason right now to assume Spall isn’t a strong contender.

5. Xavier Dolan could be looking at an original screenplay nod – I know, it’s a long shot. And Andrey Zvyagintsev is also in line, though Leviathan could also be a foreign language contender — and it might win. Again, tough sell to that group probably. Mommy could, theoretically, be a foreign language film but again, the Academy probably are too prudish to go there.

These awards come early – and most of the time their buzz has long worn off by the time Telluride rolls around. Still, Cannes prizes are prestigious enough on their own and worthy influencers for the Oscars.

30 Comments on this Post

  1. “But if they do they will be revealing their vanity, and their collective lack of self-awareness and that would be a shame.”

    How are you so sure Moore will be better than 5 other actresses that could be nominated? It’s only May and you’re pretty much saying, “If she’s snubbed, the academy doesn’t know shit.”

  2. cinephile

    Yes, make that Oscar nom for Moore happen, Sasha!

    But even if she doesn’t receive it – Cannes Best Actress is huge, anyway, and Moore is now only the fourth person, and second actress, to win the Festival trifecta (Berlin Silver Bear, Venice Coppa Volpi, Cannes Palm). Juliette Binoche, Jack Lemmon, Sean Penn are the others – a worthy company.

    Anyway, for a Hollywood actress of 53, she’s doing fantastically. She has six upcoming movies (plus Maps to the stars and this year’s box office hit Non-Stop). Since she’s turned 50, she got Golden Globe and BAFTA noms for The Kids Are Right, she’s won an Emmy, TV Golden Globe and SAG for Game Change, and now the Cannes Best Actress for Maps to the Stars.

  3. Bridgie James Rosenthal

    And Julianne Moore has won Best Actress from the “top three” international film festivals: Venice 2002 (“Far From Heaven,” Oscar nomination); Berlin 2003 (“The Hours,” ex-aequo Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman; Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress); and now, Cannes 2014. The question is “Can she be nominated by the Academy for her performance in the divisively received David Cronenberg picture?”

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  5. david

    Is Brie Larson in anything this year?? She would get nominated this year since she got ripped off if a nomination last year

  6. Sammy

    Winter Sleep needs a good promoter in US.

  7. Q Mark

    “The Best Actress category these days is always so spare.” Huh??? Best Actress has had some of the deepest fields of any Oscar category for the last five years.

    He wasn’t a winner at Cannes, but I suspect we’ll see Mike Leigh up for a screenplay nomination (almost a lock given his track record) and he’s 50-50 for a best director nod.

  8. Sammy

    It is early days but can we say a best director nod is in the bag for Bennett Miller?

  9. Deydou

    I believe Julianne Moore will be nominated this year, not for Maps to the Star but for Still Alice.

    I even think she’ll win!

    She will probably get best actress honors for both movies by the NBR or NYFCC…

    Mark my words!

  10. Little Jake

    Russia will not submit Leviathan for Foreign Language Oscar category. The Russian authorities are obviously not pleased with the film.

    Just look at the recent Russian submissions – solely patriotic WW2 tales. Modern critical dramas don’t stand a chance.

    I can’t help thinking the jury’s decision not to give Leviathan a heftier prize yesterday is somehow cowardly. As if they didn’t want to upset the mighty Russia.

  11. phantom

    This could be the kind of career-best year for Moore, even the Academy should have the very least a hard time to ignore : she started out as the female lead of Non-Stop, a relatively well-received (56 MC is respectable for the genre) international Box Office hit; then she went to Cannes with Maps to the Stars and became the first American actress to complete the European trifecta; she will be probably on the fall fest circuit with the baity Still Alice and then on the talk show circuit to promote her flashy villain role in the upcoming smash, Mockingjay. All this exposure and good press should at least garner her a nomination for either Maps to the Stars or Still Alice. I don’t necessarily think she could win this year (my gut says Weinstein will secure that for Amy Adams for Big Eyes) but it would be a nice ‘welcome back to the fold’ nomination before the BIG one…Freeheld…now THAT could be a performance impossible to ignore.

  12. Bridgie James Rosenthal

    “I can’t help thinking the jury’s decision not to give Leviathan a heftier prize yesterday is somehow cowardly. As if they didn’t want to upset the mighty Russia.”

    1. The “even-minded” jury preferred to reward a “young auteur” (Xavier Dolan, “Mommy”), a “world cinema legend” who crafted probably his “last” film (Jean-Luc Godard, “Goodbye to Language”), and an internationally acclaimed (and one of Cannes’ favorite) filmmaker on the run for a possible Palme d’or after a few slights in the previous festival editions (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, “Winter Sleep”).

    2. It can be said that Zyvagintsev can wait before he wins the top prize (or the runner-up-Grand Prix or the third place-Jury Prize).

    3. The global political diaspora today, in my opinion, was also considered (albeit a minority view).

  13. Bob Burns

    Foxcatcher cuts very close to the bone for the industry, too, but they probably won’t notice.

  14. Sammy

    Nuri Bilge Ceylan has already won a best director award for Three Monkeys and now with this Palme D’Or he has become one of the big guns in the arthouse cinema world. I hope this would be the first Turkish movie joining the Oscar ceremony at the end.

  15. Corvo

    Amy Adams – Big Eyes
    Reese Witherspoon – Wild
    Cate Blanchett – Carol
    Jessica Chastain – Miss Julie
    Julianne Moore – Maps to the Stars

    and the Oscar goes to Amy Adams

  16. steve50

    Cannes probably has more pull on critics than on the Oscars and even that is minimal. If Moore can pull off a nom, it will be because enough critics are able to herd enough industry folk into seeing her and then, more importantly, connecting with her character.

    Like what Bridgie says above, Cannes is a different jungle. Factors that influence the voting by the jury are miles from the factors that influence Oscar voters.

  17. Bryce Forestieri

    It’d be good to know if CAROL comes out this year so I can lock in my predictions.

  18. Nic V

    I happen to agree with Steve50. Cannes has had little effect on the Oscars. Moore may very well find herself nominated but I doubt it will have anything to do with Cannes. She’s got a lot of work out there floating around and she’s an actress that has that “we like you” guotient going for her. What will help Moore are all the projects and that might be what secures her Oscar for her.

  19. ‘I can’t help thinking the jury’s decision not to give Leviathan a heftier prize yesterday is somehow cowardly. As if they didn’t want to upset the mighty Russia.’

    I can’t help thinking the jury’s decision not to give Leviathan a heftier prize yesterday speaks to the fact that they liked other films better and thought it was excellently written.

    Leviathan won’t even feature in the Oscar race. No submission for Foreign Language Film, given its subtextual content. No Oscar eligibility run, given its inaccessibility. No campaign, given the unlikelihood of a major distributor picking up an Andrei Zvyagintsev film and giving a shit about it in the US.

  20. ubourgeois

    I think the “Maps will scare Hollywood” angle is overplayed. Like, yes, Hollywood is vain, but I hardly think any idea put forward in Maps is going to rock any Academy voter’s world. Criticism of Hollywood is neither uncommon nor secret. They hardly ignored The Player because of it – it scored nominations for Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Editing.

    Now, the Academy might not like Maps, but then again they don’t usually like Cronenberg anyway. I really doubt that if Julianne Moore gets attention like, say, William Hurt and Viggo Mortensen did, they’ll pass her over simply because they’re too “afraid of the truth” or whatever.

  21. Q Mark:

    I totally agree with you, and disagree with Sasha. The Best Actress category has been pretty good consistently in the past 10 years, with the exception of a couple of years. Definitely eons away from the weak 90’s Best Actress lineup. Sasha, I understand that you’re all about equality for women in Hollywood.. I’m totally for it, but you just can’t ignore the exceptional performances that have been nominated. Any one of the performance from the last Oscar would’ve easily won any other year (with the exception of Amy Adams).

  22. I don’t think Sasha is saying that it’s hard to name 5 great Hollywood roles for women every year. I think the point is that it’s not so easy to name 10. Whereas it’s easy to name 20 meaty roles for men.

  23. “The Best Actress category these days is always so spare.” I’m sorry to have to disagree. It’s almost always easy to predict the actor contenders but not actress. The last few years I can name about 12 actresses versus only 4 or 5 actors who stand out each year. Cate Blanchett alone in Blue Jasmine was better than any of the males nominated – including McConaughey. This year looks to be another strong one for the women.

    If politics didn’t play a part in award nominations I’d say Julianne Moore was a lock. EOne is handling distribution on Maps to the Stars, and they simply don’t have the money to give her a campaign. Similarly Kirsten Dunst received many foreign honors for Melancholia, however, she was totally overlooked for SAG, Globes, and the Oscar.

  24. Bryce Forestieri

    Finding plenty of great female roles in world cinema is extremely easy for me when I put together my all-important Best Of The Year Citations. AMPAS just has a horrid record of mostly nominating performances from bad movies, I mean even if you only nominates performances from American/British films 90+% of the time you can’t do much worse than AMPAS. Is everyone seriously not predicting Meryl Street for UNDER THE WOODS (or whatever) or is that not a lead role? Because she *is* getting nominated. Best to just limit yourself to figuring out the other four, even this early.

    Onto a happier subject, I’m glad to report I just had the most wonderful cinematic weekend. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, though not without a series annoying and unnecessary plot gimmicks and quite a few instances of poor taste regarding design, was much, much better than I was expecting going into the theater. It is earnest, fun essential-viewing. But the highlights were LOCKE and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE. So glad I finally caught up with these two singular visions. Won’t be forgetting them anytime soon.

  25. Hallick

    “I can’t help thinking the jury’s decision not to give Leviathan a heftier prize yesterday is somehow cowardly. As if they didn’t want to upset the mighty Russia.”

    I think there’s a stronger argument that a film festival jury would give a heftier prize to “Leviathan” to snub its nose at Putin and Russia. What possible motive do you imagine they would have to appease such a government anyway? And if, in some batshit-crazy bizarro universe, your scenario actually did happen, at least ONE member of that jury (if not more) would have used the post-ceremony press conference to light up every other juror who went that route.

  26. Hallick

    A dark horse candidate for a Foreign Language nomination might be Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s “The Tribe” that walked away with three Critics’ Week awards at Cannes. Then again, the Ukraine isn’t exactly stable at the moment (to say the least) so what odds it has of putting up ANY film for nomination this year I don’t even know.

  27. rufussondheim

    I wrote this on facebook page (yes, some still use it!) and thought I’d repost it in an appropriate thread here. Sadly, there is no appropriate thread. Hopefully there will be one soon. Anyway, here is what I wrote…

    I was born two, three, probably more like five years too late to experience anything firsthand that was depicted in The Normal Heart. It took me back to the Fall of 1984. It was then that I found myself and started to fight. It was a class project and about ten of us wrote a play and I cast myself in the part of a gay man who had AIDS. But yet I learned nothing from it.

    It is immensely satisfying to see that, 30 years later, we can now marry in the state I’ve lived most of my life. And I see virtually everyone I know celebrate the love of two men and two women and recognize it as equal to their own. It was impossible, in the fall of 1984, to see it, this, coming. All I knew was fear and shame. And Anger. Anger at the God I worshipped, anger at my friends, my classmates, for not creating an atmosphere which allowed me to come out, anger at myself for not forcing them to.

    That anger is at the core of The Normal Heart. For the young people who read this, you likely don’t know what it was like to be gay in a world that hated us and I am so grateful that you don’t. But I haven’t let go of that anger and, yes, I’m angry that time period is mostly forgotten. I am angry I was forced to wait 30 years to experience the recent marriage victories.

    Anger is a cruel emotion, it will destroy you from within, but without anger there is no motivation to force change, there is no impetus to force the world to evolve, to eventually do the right thing. And that’s why it’s crucial people see The Normal Heart. It’s rare any work of art captures that anger so effectively. And everyone needs to see that anger, to eat it, to swallow it whole. And to live it. And to appreciate those who have used that anger to force the world to create an atmosphere where we can all love, and live, together

  28. Oh please guys… the Best Actress race IS very spare nowadays. Sure, there are years in which there are 5+ worthy actresses, but it’s a downward trend.

    This is common knowledge.

  29. Little Jake

    @Hallick:

    It’s just my hunch that this year, the jury didn’t want to send explicit political messages. They gave Leviathan the least prestigious prize and they also completely avoided the only other intensely political movie, Timbuktu, even though that one received excellent reviews, too.

    As much as I’d like The Tribe to feature prominently in the Foreign Language race, I doubt it’ll happen, as the movie reportedly contains no spoken words whatsoever. I guess that rules it out.

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