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The Potential Oscar Contenders of Cannes 2017: A Rundown

From Nicole Kidman to Jeremy Renner to Michelle Williams to, well, Nicole Kidman: Here's the red-carpet eye candy that will likely bid for Oscar 2018.

Tilda Swinton, "Okja"



The 2017 Cannes official selection is a mix of brainy competition auteurs, red-carpet star power, and the rarest breed — a handful of players who could return to North America as Oscar contenders.


Nicole Kidman will be stuffing her trunks with evening gowns, as she will need to walk the Palais steps at least four times: twice with Colin Farrell, for Cannes favorite Sofia Coppola‘s Civil War potboiler “The Beguiled” (Focus Features) and Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (A24), both in Competition, and again for John Cameron Mitchell‘s midnighter “How to Talk with Girls at Parties” (A24) and a preview of Jane Campion‘s returning Sundance Channel series, “Top of the Lake: China Girl.” How the three films play in Cannes will determine if the Oscar perennial returns for another go-round.

Isabelle Huppert

Daniel Bergeron

Isabelle Huppert won the Cesar and was close — we think — to winning the Oscar for “Elle.” She’s back in two movies, “Happy End” (Sony Pictures Classics) by Michael Haneke, rejoining “Amour” co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Hong Sang-soo’s “Claire’s Camera.”

Tilda Swinton 'Doctor Strange' film premiere, Los Angeles, USA - 20 Oct 2016

Tilda Swinton stars in one of two Netflix originals in competition, Bong joon-ho’s “Okja,” opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. While Swinton has won once (“Michael Clayton”), and Gyllenhaal was nominated once (“Brokeback Mountain”), the question is whether the film will play in theaters.

Emma Thompson stars in the other Netflix entry, Noah Baumbach‘s “The Meyerowitz Stories,” which may have made the cut partly due to its starry ensemble: Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, and Adam Sandler among them. Is Sandler Cannes material? Yes, he showed up on the red carpet for Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 “Punch-Drunk Love.” But if the movie doesn’t go out theatrically, it won’t be Oscar eligible.

The third auteur-directed Netflix movie, David Michod’s “War Machine,” wasn’t submitted to Cannes at all. Why? Word is, lack of availability for star Brad Pitt.

Marion Cotillard, step brothers

Marion Cotillard

Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

Marion Cotillard stars in Arnaud Desplechin’s return to the Official Selection (after Directors’ Fortnight title “My Golden Days”) with opener “Ismael’s Ghosts,” co-starring Charlotte Gainsbourg. She’s been Oscar-nominated twice (“Two Days, One  Night”), won once (“La Vie en Rose”), and could do so again. The question is whether Magnolia will give her an Oscar push.

Michelle Williams

Photo by Buckner/VAR/REX/Shutterstock

Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore, both Oscar perennials, star in Todd Haynes‘ “Wonderstruck” (Amazon Studios), which covers two stories in two period time frames, one black and white, and one in color. “Carol” scored a shared Cannes Best Actress for Rooney Mara, earned six Oscar nominations, and won zero. Moore has won once (“Still Alice”), and “Manchester By the Sea” nominee Williams is due for a win after four nods. With Pedro Almodovar heading the Competition jury, maybe Haynes’ Palme d’Or odds are better this year.

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix may or may not be counted on to show up for Lynne Ramsay‘s “You Were Never Really Here” (Amazon Studios), in which he plays a war veteran trying to save a young girl from sex traffickers. He has been nominated three times.

Jeremy Renner Vanity Fair Oscar Party, Los Angeles, USA - 26 Feb 2017

Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen will turn up with Sundance Un Certain Regard title “Wind River,” the directorial debut of Taylor Sheridan, who scored an Oscar nomination for writing “Hell or High Water,” which played Cannes last year. Weinstein is releasing this August, and will celebrate its Cannes presence, but while Renner is superb, this stylish genre exercise may not prove an awards player.

Vanessa Redgrave 'Money Monster' premiere, 69th Cannes Film Festival, France - 12 May 2016

Vanessa Redgrave returns after “Howards End” last year to introduce her directorial debut, refugee drama “Sea Sorrow,” starring Emma Thompson and Ralph Fiennes and shot in France, Greece, Italy, and Lebanon. She produced along with her son, Carlo Nero. Nominated six times, she won in supporting for “Julia.”

Al Gore


Al Gore will surely not miss an opportunity to pursue his climate change agenda with Paramount’s “An Inconvenient Sequel,” which is just about the only Hollywood studio release in the official selection. Ten years ago, the first documentary won the Oscar.

French Actress Berenice Bejo (l) and French Director Michel Hazanavicius (r) Arrive For the Screening of 'The Bfg' During the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes France 14 May 2016 the Movie is Presented out of Competition at the Festival Which Runs From 11 to 22 May France CannesFrance Cannes Film Festival 2016 - May 2016

Berenice Bejo and Michel Hazanavicius


Berenice Bejo (nominated for Oscar-winner “The Artist”) rejoins her husband Michel Hazanavicius for his Jean-Luc Godard biopic “Redoubtable,” co-starring Louis Garrel as the young New Wave director and Stacy Martin as his wife Anne Wiazemsky.

David Lynch

David Lynch


David Lynch returns, as Cannes Director Thierry Fremaux had long hoped, not with a film in Competition but with rebooted TV series “Twin Peaks.” The May 21 airdate was perfect for the Croisette — but just too late to be an Emmy contender.

READ MORE: Why Nicole Kidman is a Full-Fledged Bad-Ass, Even Before ‘Big Little Lies’ Star –Career Watch

Winning Distributors

Always ubiquitous at Cannes, this year Wild Bunch boasts seven entries, including opener “Ismael’s Ghosts,” which Magnolia Films will release stateside. Stateside rising force, “Moonlight” distributor A24, has four (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” “Good Time” and midnight entries “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” and “Prayer Before Dawn”), Amazon Studios two (“Wonderstruck,” “You Were Never Really Here”), Cohen Media two (Jacques Doillon’s “Rodin” and Agnes Varda’s documentary “Faces, Villages”), Netflix two (“Okja,” “The Meyerowitz Stories”), and with one apiece (for the moment) are Focus Features (“The Beguiled”), Sony Pictures Classics (“Happy End”) and Weinstein Co. (“Wind River”).

READ MORE: 17 Shocks and Surprises from the Cannes Lineup 

Full lineup so far below, with Critics’ Week and Quinzaine still to come.

Opening Night Film

“Ismael’s Ghost” directed by Arnaud Desplechin


“The Day After” directed by Hong Sangsoo

“Loveless” directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

“Good Time” directed by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie

“You Were Never Really Here” directed by Lynne Ramsay

“Jupiter’s Moon” directed by Kornél Mandruczo

“L’amant Double” directed by François Ozon

“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

“A Gentle Creature” directed by Sergei Loznitsa

“Radiance” directed by Naomi Kawase

“Wonderstruck” directed by Todd Haynes

“Happy End” directed by Michael Haneke

“In the Fade” directed by Fatih Akin

“Rodin” directed by Jacques Doillon

“The Beguiled” directed by Sofia Coppola

“Le Redoutable” directed by Michel Hazanavicius

“Okja” directed by Bong Joon-ho

“120 Battements Par Minute” directed by Robin Campillo

“The Meyerowitz Stories” directed by Noah Baumbach

Un Certain Regard

“April’s Daughter” directed by Michel Franco

“Lucky” directed by Sergio Castellitto

“Jeune Femme” directed by Léonor Serraille

“Western” directed by Valeska Grisebach

“Wind River” directed by Taylor Sheridan

“Directions” directed by Stephan Komandarev

“After the War” directed by Annarita Zambrano

“Dregs” directed by Mohammad Rasoulof

“Out” by György Kristóf

“The Nature of Time” directed by Karim Moussaoui

“Before We Vanish” directed by Kurosawa Kiyoshi

“L’atelier” by Laurent Cantet

“Beauty and the Dogs” by Kaouther Ben Hania

“Barbara” directed by Mathieu Amalric

“Closeness” directed by Kantemir Balagov

“The Desert Bride” directed by Cecilia Atan and Valeria Pivato

Out of Competition

“Blade of the Immortal” directed by by Takashi Miike

“How to Talk to Girls at Parties” directed by John Cameron Mitchell

“Visages, Villages” directed by Agnès Varda

Special Screenings

“12 Jours” directed by Raymond Depardon

“They” directed by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh

“An Inconvenient Sequel” directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk

“Top of the Lake: China Girl” directed by Jane Campion & Ariel Kleiman

“Promised Land” directed by Eugene Jarecki

“24 Frames” directed by Abbas Kiarostami

“Napalm” directed by Claude Lanzmann

“Come Swim” directed by Kristen Stewart

“Demons in Paradise” directed by Jude Ratman

“Sea Sorrow” directed by Vanessa Redgrave

“Clair’s Camera” directed by Hong Sangsoo

“Twin Peaks” directed by David Lynch

Midnight Screenings

“The Villainess” directed by Jung Byung Gil

“The Merciless” directed by Byun Sung-Hyun

“Prayer Before Dawn” directed by Jean Stephane Sauvaire


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