The 2014 Cannes Film Festival lineup is out, and while it certainly includes enough highly anticipated films to fulfill any cinephile's dreams between now and the festival's May 14th kick-off, there were a few films that didn't end up making the cut -- some bigger surprises than others.
Whether due to the film not being done or a strategic move to screen it elsewhere or maybe even Cannes rejecting it, quite a few high profile films are now officially major contenders for the fall festival circuit's main trio -- Venice, Toronto and/or Telluride.
Here are 10 examples:
Directed by Tim Burton
Tim Burton -- who headed the Cannes jury two years back -- has gotten a lot of flack as of late thanks to big budget, critically panned films like "Alice in Wonderland" and "Dark Shadows." And while it seems like he is making a return to fantasy-free, low-budget fare in 2014 -- really for the first time since 1994's "Ed Wood" (which is perhaps his most critically acclaimed film) -- it didn't end up meaning a trip to the Croisette. With a script from "Wood" screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, "Big Eyes" takes on the true story of husband and wife artists Walter and Margaret Keane (Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams), the former of whom rose to fame in 1950s for his paintings of big-eyed kids.
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Inarritu's past films to have gotten into the Cannes Film Festival have been grim, foreign-language dramas that tackle issues of global and social importance. His upcoming film "Birdman," on the other hand, was said to not have been ready, and maybe it's for the best that Inarritu mixes things up for a film in which he definitely, well, mixes things up: It's an American comedy starring Zach Galifianiakis, Emma Stone and Michael Keaton about an actor trying to regain his former glory on Broadway when his days playing a famous superhero have long been gone.
Directed by Mia Hansen-Love
At only 33, Mia Hansen-Love has already established herself as a director to watch, and many expected her to be screening in competition this year. She won the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival for her drama “The Father of my Children.” Her latest project, “Eden,” follows the life of a French DJ who’s credited with inventing “French house” or the “French touch,” a type of French electronic music that became popular in the 1990s. But for whatever reason, "Eden" will be sitting out Cannes.
“Far From the Madding Crowd”
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
"A Celebration" director Thomas Vinterberg made quite the comeback at Cannes a couple of years back with the eventually Academy Award-nominated "The Hunt," and he follows it up with this promising adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 19th century classic headlined by the ever reliable Carey Mulligan as a woman who inherits a large farm and becomes romantically entangled with three men (Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Matthias Schoenaerts). Vinterberg has proven adept at drawing out career best performances from his cast (Mads Mikkelsen took home top acting honors at Cannes for his showstopping turn in "The Hunt"), so signs point to this being a heated character study... Just not one that will be screening at Cannes.
“The Imitation Game”
Directed by Morten Tyldum
After directing Norwegian films “Buddy” and “Headhunters,” the latter being the highest-grossing Norwegian film of all time, Tyldum has a lot to prove with “The Imitation Game.” With a bigger budget, the backing of Harvey Weinstein, and a cast boasting the unstoppable Benedict Cumberbatch, the film is about the British mathematician Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) who was a successful cryptographer during World II and was later prosecuted for his homosexuality. The film also stars Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode, and seems like the kind of thing made for awards season. Which made it seem likely all along that Harvey and company would choose to debut it in Toronto.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
It was wishful thinking from the get-go, but Paul Thomas Anderson's epicly anticipated follow-up to "The Master" was at the top of almost anyone's Cannes wish list. But the director has been in post-production on the film since the fall, though he tends to take his time and the film's release date isn't until December. So he'll likely wait until Venice (like he did with "The Master") or maybe he'll avoid the festival circuit altogether (which he basically did with "There Will Be Blood"). But either way, we'll be first in line when his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel makes its debut. Following a P.I. who investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend, the film's remarkable ensemble includes Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom and Benicio del Toro.
“A Most Violent Year”
Directed by JC Chandor
After garnering a screenplay nomination for the vastly underrated 2011 Wall Street drama “Margin Call," Chandor made a big splash at Cannes last year with a subtler, but nonetheless acclaimed film, “All is Lost,” starring a relatively silent Robert Redford. Once again proving that he’s a versatile director to contend with, Chandor will be releasing his latest film, crime drama “A Most Violent Year,” later this year. The film will star Oscar Isaac of “Inside Llewyn Davis” and Jessica Chastain and focuses on 1981—one of the most violent years in New York’s history. It was a longshot for Cannes to begin with, but expect it in Venice or Toronto.
Directed by Jon Stewart
"The Daily Show" won't arrive in Cannes as host Jon Stewart and his directorial debut "Rosewater" seems destined for Venice or Toronto instead. The comic had taken a leave of absence from his day job back in July 2013 to shoot the project alongside Shohreh Aghdashloo and Gael García Bernal. Written by Stewart, Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molly, and based on Maziar Bahari's 2011 memoir "Then They Came For Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival," the film centers on an Iranian-Canadian journalist (Bernal) detained in Tehran for over 100 days during the 2009 presidential election in Iran. Stewart covered Bahari's imprisonment extensively on his show. Footage from the film was screened for buyers in Toronto back in September 2013, so chances are the full deal will head back there a year later.
Director: Saul Dibb
Based on the powerful novel of the same name set in 1940s France, the source material has an equally dramatic backstory: the Jewish-Russian born author Irene Nemirovsky planned a five-novel cycle beginning in 1940, just as forces overran northern France. In the summer of 1942, Nemirovsky, who had converted to Catholicism, was shipped to Auschwitz and the two completed parts of Nemirovsky's planned cycle were discovered only six decades later. Though a film based on Nemirovsky's story sounds compelling, so does the book which Nemirovsky finished, on which the film is based. "Suite Francaise" tells the story of a woman in 1940s France who falls for a German officer posted in the town as she awaits her prison-of-war husband's return. The cast, with Michelle Williams playing the woman opposite Matthias Schoenaerts as her lover, should bring this strong material to life. And while there's a good chance The Weinstein Company will privately preview the film at Cannes (as they tend to do), it won't get a full-on premiere until the fall.
"While We're Young"
Director: Noah Baumbach
A year after "Frances Ha," Noah Baumbach re-teams with "Greenberg" star Ben Stiller for a $10 million Scott Rudin production about an uptight documentary filmmaker (wait, Ben Stiller playing someone uptight?) and his wife (Naomi Watts) who try to loosen up a bit by befriending a free spirited younger couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried). It's a great cast, and Baumbach is clearly on a roll as of late. The film doesn't have a release date yet (but is in post-production) -- and Baumbach also is working on "Untitled Public School Project" with "Frances" star Greta Gerwig -- but one way or another, we'll get us some more Baumbach (or double the Baumbach) by year's end -- just not at Cannes. Though Venice or Toronto seems more likely the case.