TIME Mag on how it will go down:
Here’s what we do know. On Sunday evening, at 7:30 Cannes time, Jury President Sean Penn will start announcing these awards: the Palme d’Or (best picture), a Grand Jury Prize (runner-up), Jury Prize (honorable mention), Best Director (usually a consolation prize), Screenplay, Actor, Actress. Steven Soderbergh’s Che is getting Palme d’Or buzz. So is Clint Eastwood’s Changeling. Other films being talked up are the Israeli docu-animation Waltz With Bashir, the French family drama A Christmas Tale and the Belgian The Silence of Lorna, from two-time Palme d’Or laureates Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.
And Kenneth Turan at the LA Times:
Unlike the Oscar voters, who have a lengthy track record of actions, film festival juries are by definition one-off groups whose choices are thus almost impossible to predict. Not that that stops people from trying to read the tea leaves and guessing at results.
Complicating things, as often happens at Cannes, is the late arrival of a contender, “The Class,” by France’s Laurent Contet, best known for 2001’s “Time Out.” But would this powerfully and unexpectedly emotional examination of a middle school class in a tough Parisian neighborhood pass muster with a jury chaired by Sean Penn, who announced at the festival’s start that he was looking for works in which “the filmmaker is very aware of the times in which he lives.”