“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.
Directed by Bennett Miller
"Foxcatcher" was a highly anticipated potential fixture in last year's awards race. But the film was pushed to 2014 at the last minute because director Miller ("Capote," "Moneyball") didn't want to rush things. But considering how crowded the Oscar race was, maybe it was for the best. And it gives us something to very much look forward to in 2014 -- potentially with Cannes kicking things off. Starring Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Sienna Miller and Vanessa Redgrave, the film tells the true story of Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers Mark (Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Ruffalo) and their relationship with the eccentric John du Pont (Carell), heir to the du Pont Chemical fortune that led to murder. Written by E. Max Frye and "Capote" scribe Dan Futterman, if it were to work out a little less than a year from now, it would be Bennett Miller's third straight film to receive a best picture nomination. But does a Cannes stop come first?
Directed by Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones's directorial debut "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" made its way to competition in Cannes (and Jones ended up winning the best actor award at the festival for it, making him the only director on this list to win an acting prize at the festival), suggesting his follow up "The Homesman" could very well do the same. It brings him together with the impressive likes of Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld, James Spader, John Lithgow, and Tim Blake Nelson in a tale of a claim jumper and pioneer woman who travel from Nebraska to Iowa with three mentally ill women.
"How to Catch a Monster"
Directed by Ryan Gosling
Another actor familiar with Cannes ("Drive," "Only God Forgives"), Ryan Gosling might make his way back to in a different capacity this time around. Principal photography on his directorial debut “How to Catch a Monster” wrapped last year, so it’s not wild to assume that Warner Bros. might choose to debut the film on the Croisette. Written by Gosling, the film stars his “Drive” co-star Christina Hendricks alongside Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Saoirse Ronan and “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith in a fantasy centered on a single mother who is swept into a dark fantasy underworld.
“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. Whether Harvey and company choose to debut it here or Toronto is the question.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
This might be a bit of wishful thinking, but Paul Thomas Anderson's epicly anticipated follow-up to "The Master" would clearly be at the top of almost anyone's Cannes to-see list if it makes the cut. 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 maybe he'll 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.