I am installed in the press room at the Palais, near the English-language live stream video screen, where noise and anticipation is growing as reporters prepare to file the all-important story of who wins Cannes prizes tonight. Fest director Thierry Fremaux just popped his head in.
Here’s what’s expected to go down: the hostess is Inglourious Basterds star Melanie Laurent, and presenters include two women who were once married to Roger Vadim: Catherine Deneuve and Jane Fonda. After each award, the stars will pass through the press conference room to give brief interviews. Word is Israeli film Footnote will win something as Joseph Cedar was asked to return to Cannes. The Artist and Drive groups are in the Palais. Folks in the press room expect The Tree of Life to win.
Jury president Robert DeNiro on his way in said that the jury deliberation was calm. “I don’t like drama, I don’t like drama in movies either, I like to solve problems,” he said. “We had to think our way through it.” French director Olivier Assayas (Carlos) said that everything went smoothly.
My best guesses, based on the jury lead by DeNiro, including Assayas, actioners Nansun Shi and Johnny To, Uma Thurman, Jude Law and brainy culture critic Linn Ullman, is that of the 20 films they will be selecting from, the following will win a prize:
Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, which may divide the jury, but has to win SOMETHING.
Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre, which could be consensus title. It is a lovely precise moving gem about people being good. God forbid.
The Artist, including possibly Jean Dujardin, a popular comedian who won people’s hearts in the winning and moving role of a silent movie star on the skids.
Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, which boasts a strong performance from Tilda Swinton–although she is not here.
Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In, because he has not won before, but it is not considered his absolute best. He is not here.
And perhaps Lars von Trier’s Melancholia which would have had a good shot before, could win a best actress prize for Kirsten Dunst, who should not be punished for his misbehavior. She is here!
A jury prize or the grand prix could go to young director Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive–clearly the press room is rooting for this popular fest hit, because they cheered him on the red carpet. The Palme d’Or usually goes to one of the bigger guns who would be insulted by a lesser prize. My guess is that Footnote could win the screenplay prize.