Immediately following last year’s Cannes Film Festival, the film that dominated headlines also dominated our critics poll. “Blue is the Warmest Color” handily won all four of the high-profile categories (Film, Director, Lead and Supporting Performance) on the strength of its Palme d’Or selection.
The lack of a clear-cut fest favorite made for an interesting set of results in this year’s version, but the nearly 40 critics that voted in our poll did collectively select a few noteworthy titles. The Dardenne Brothers’ “Two Days, One Night,” which many had pegged for the festival’s top prize, claimed the top overall spot in the Best Film category, appearing on 17 ballots.
As usual for Cannes, the performance categories featured a potent mix of actors well-known to mainstream audiences as well as some emerging stars from the global cinema arena. Timothy Spall’s leading turn in Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” appeared on the most ballots of any selection in any category, gracing half of the overall Lead Performance ballots. Marion Cotillard and Juliette Binoche both finished in the Lead Performance top five as well. But frequent Xavier Dolan collaborator Anne Dorval ultimately topped them all for her lead turn as the titular “Mommy” in the film that shared Cannes’ Grand Prix. Haluk Bilginer, from Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep” rounded out the upper tier of the front-of-camera leads.
Kristen Stewart’s work in Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria” garnered a first-place finish in the Supporting Performance list. In fact, if you throw in the handful of votes she also received for Lead Performance, she’d be tied with Dorval for the most overall ballot points of any performer. Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” also received spread-out acclaim, with its central acting triumvirate each appearing on their fair share of lists. Mark Ruffalo finished just behind Stewart, while Channing Tatum and Steve Carell each received a high combined total between mentions for Lead and Supporting. JK Simmons continued his impressive 2014 festival run, with a few more votes on top of his Sundance Best Supporting Performance in Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash.”
The traditional Best Film/Best Director overlap was on display this year, with the same top 6 in each, albeit in slightly different order. International wunderkind Dolan placed first in the Director tally, a significant margin ahead of the brotherly duo more than three decades his senior.
The fifth and final category, Best Screenplay, went to the only film to receive an A+ review on Indiewire during the festivities. Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin’s work on “Leviathan” narrowly edged out “Winter Sleep” by a single point. At a combined five and a half hours between the two films, these two seem to have proven that, while not as marketable come theatrical distribution time, these lengthier films have critical value from the ground up.
For information on every film that received votes in this year’s poll, be sure to check out the full survey results here.