The most boring Cannes OF ALL TIME
I really can’t remember a less interesting Cannes Film Festival than the one that just happened. Maybe it’s because Angelina denied us the opportunity to be LEGGED again, or maybe it’s because the weather sucked over there and everyone stayed inside, actually watching movies, but there was a lack of crazy Cannes stories. And the fashion was so-so. The only fashion moments I remember off the top of my head are Kristen Stewart’s red dress, Nicole Kidman’s rose Lanvin, Marion Cotillard’s giant bun, and Tom Sturridge’s blue tuxedo (and also That Thing on top of his head). Everything else just ran together as either men in black, flowy Grecian gowns, or Marchesa bullsh*t.
The films, at least, delivered on quality, if not on controversy (and this is why Lars von Trier will inevitably be asked back to the festival someday). Festival opener Moonrise Kingdom is already off to a huge commercial start with one of the biggest limited openings ever, and Sundance stand-out Beasts of the Southern Wild picked up the Camera d’Or for its director, Benh Zeitlin, consolidating its odds of being the Sundance-to-Oscar story of 2012. More commercial fare like Lawless and Killing Them Softly got strong reviews, setting up what will no doubt be a knock-down, drag-out award season. There are some very heavy hitters vying for trophies this year, and if the glimpse of Django Unchained that Harvey Weinstein shared is anything to go by, Quentin Tarantino is FURIOUS that he didn’t win anything for Inglorious Basterds and he will be gunning for Oscar.
But Cannes wouldn’t be Cannes if people weren’t disagreeing left, right and center about something, and this year two of the highest-profile projects at the festival were also two of the most divisive among critics. David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Walter Salles’ On the Road both split audiences, but at least the films’ respective stars, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, got solid notice for their acting. That, plus their Riviera-front love fest, is something for the fans to enjoy (and I mean that sincerely—it was a good showing for both of them). Cronenberg’s son Brandon was even more controversial with his directorial debut Antiviral, and Lee Daniels’ Precious follow-up, The Paperboy, was pretty much reviled. Who knew that people wouldn’t go for Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron?
You want to know how safe Cannes was this year? I guessed the Palme d’Or winner. You guys should know by now that I’m kind of crap at predicting things and if I get something like this right—if I’m able to predict one of the most notoriously back-asswards film juries there is—that it’s an overly safe choice. Two weeks ago I wrote: The Palme d’Or is always tough to predict but Haneke’s Amour is tailor-made for the Cannes crowd. And sure enough, Michael Haneke’s Amour won the big prize. I shouldn’t be able to guess the Palme d’Or ever because the film that wins that prize should be some completely insane, experimental movie about the existential being of ferns, not the movie that looked made expressly to win that award. I was actually disappointed that I got that right.
Which means it’s down to my “Matthew McConaughey for Oscar 2013” prediction to provide some retroactive flavor to the Cannes Film Festival. The good news? His film Mud, which closed the festival, is getting really good reviews. Oscar here we come!
(Lainey: I’m sorry for not giving Ewan McGregor, Cannes juror, enough love, or any love, through the festival. Here’s a selection of shots of him over the two weeks. Ewan had his wife Eve with him the whole time. Bookmark that thought for a future discussion.)