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Cannes: How Many Oscar Contenders Came Out of the 5 Last Fests?

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 14, 2014 at 8:02AM

Taking a look back on the Cannes Film Festival's influence over Oscar during the last half-decade...
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Cannes Festival
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The "Oscar launchpad" designation is mainly reserved for Toronto when it comes to film festivals, with the September event kicking off awards "season" (even though it's really half a year). But more often than not, things actually get started a whole lot earlier. Sundance usually gives us a first look at a few contenders, and then comes May -- Cannes almost always adds a few more to the pile. Sometimes those few mostly come in the form of foreign language film contenders, but sometimes Cannes blows away even Toronto when it comes to giving awards season its main contenders.

Just a few years back, a whopping three Cannes titles ended up with best picture nominations, "Midnight in Paris," "The Tree of Life" and "The Artist" -- the latter winning. While it's unlikely that record will be replicated this year (though we'll find out soon enough if this year's slate at least has that potential), we figured why not take a trip down Cannes memory lane to revisit the awards season contenders Cannes has launched, getting us on the lookout for what films from this year's line up might be their successors?

"White Ribbon" Reigns at European Film Awards
A scene from Michael Haneke's "White Ribbon."

2009
This was a pretty standout year for Cannes' ability to churn out Oscar hopefuls, with two Best Picture nominees debuting at the festival for only the second time in history.  Though no one was really expecting that out of the gate. Few would have bet that "Inglourious Basterds" would turn into the festival's Oscar MVP (they might have been more inclined to say Jane Campion's "Bright Star," but that film went on to only earn one nomination), or that festival opener "Up" was a sure thing for a Best Picture nomination. Though that said, we were heading into the first year with 10 Best Picture nominees, so nobody really knew what to expect. But in the end, it ended up being a nicely Cannes-flavored awards season, with the second best showing of the past five years. Les stats:

How did the Palme d'Or winner do? Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" got two Oscar noms -- best foreign language film and best cinematography.

Number of Oscar nominated films: 6 ("Up," "Bright Star," "A Prophet," "Inglourious Basterds," "The White Ribbon," "Dogtooth")

Number of Oscar nominations: 18 (notably, eight of which came from "Basterds" and one -- the foreign language nod for "Dogtooth" -- the following year)

Number of Best Picture Oscar nominees: 2 ("Up" and "Basterds")

Number of Oscar wins: 3 (two for "Up" and one for "Basterds")


Box Office: "Biutiful" and "Kaboom" Debut As Oscar Keeps Bumping
Photo courtesy of Roadside Attractions. A scene from Alejandro González Iñárritu’s "Biutiful."

2010
The 63rd edition of Cannes had the least crossover with Oscar in sometime, even with those 10 Best Picture nominees still in play. From "Inglourious" to inglorious, only three festival alums managed Oscar nominations with Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Biutiful," Rachid Bouchareb's "Outside The Law" and Mike Leigh's "Another Year" -- and none of them won a statue. There had been somewhat high hopes for the likes of "Fair Game" and "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" heading into the fest, but neither turned out to be the kind of film that makes a play at awards season.

How did the Palme d'Or winner do? No one was ever expecting Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" to get an Oscar nomination, and they were right. 

Number of Oscar nominated films: 3 ("Biutiful," "Another Year," "Outside The Law")

Number of Oscar nominations: 4 ("Biutiful" got nods for both Best Actor and Best Foreign Language) 

Number of Best Picture Oscar nominees: 0

Number of Oscar wins: 0

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Academy Awards, Academy Awards, Nebraska, Amour, Inglourious Basterds, The Artist, Midnight In Paris