Predicting The 2013 Cannes Film Festival Lineup: Who Will Join ‘The Great Gatsby’ On The Croisette?

Predicting The 2013 Cannes Film Festival Lineup: Who Will Join 'The Great Gatsby' On The Croisette?
Predicting The 2013 Cannes Film Festival Lineup: Who Will Join 'The Great Gatsby' On The Croisette?

On Tuesday, it was announced that Baz Luhrmann‘s “The Great Gatsby” would open this year’s Cannes Film Festival, still the most prestigious, and arguably most important event on the cinematic calendar. And today, March 14th, marks the last day on which films can be seen by the selection panel for the festival, which kicks off May 15th.

So aside from ‘Gatsby,’ what else can we expect to see at the festival? It seemed to be a good time to run down the possibilities of what might appear on the Croisette in 2013, so we’ve rounded up those that we think are essentially locks, along with the possibilities and slightly longer-shot candidates. Last year, we did pretty well when we made our guesses, but as always, there are films and filmmakers that are flying under our radar. Whether or not our crystal ball is accurate this year remains to be seen. Read on below, and let us know what you think — or hope — will be in the lineup for the 66th Cannes Film Festival

Strong Contenders

Behind the Candelabra” (dir. Steven Soderbergh)
Cast: Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Rob Lowe, Cheyenne Jackson, Scott Bakula
Given that he kicked off his career with a Palme d’Or for “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” it’s fitting that even if Steven Soderbergh‘s “final” film – the Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” – skips theaters in most of the world, it will still get to see the inside of a theater on the Croisette. The cable network premiered “Hemingway & Gellhorn” at the festival last year, and with Soderbergh long having said that the film was aiming for the festival, and the movie airing in the U.S. on May 26th on HBO, this looks to be a lock.

“Lowlife” (dir. James Gray)
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner
If there’s anyone that loves James Gray more than The Playlist, it’s the French. While the filmmaker’s cult is still growing stateside, Cannes took him into their hearts long ago, with all of his last three pictures playing in competition at the festival. While there was initially some talk that Gray would have “Lowlife” ready for Venice or TIFF last year, it didn’t come to pass, and he told us late last year that he’s hoping for the film to premiere at Cannes in 2013. Given how fond the organizers are of his previous work, we think this is a good one to bet on.

Inside Llewyn Davis” (dir. Joel & Ethan Coen)
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garret Hedlund, John Goodman
The Coens are fairly frequent Cannes-goers, with some success (“Fargo,” Palme d’Or winner “Barton Fink,” “No Country For Old Men“) and some disappointments (“The Ladykillers“). Word from an early screening in February has created tremendous buzz for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and Deadline has already pegged it as a possible in competition film this year. It’d make perfect sense for the film to get a “Moonrise Kingdom“/”Midnight In Paris“-style boost with a summer release following soon after, so keep an eye out to see if CBS Films announce a release date sooner rather than later.

A Field In England” (dir. Ben Wheatley)
Cast: Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Julian Barratt, Ryan Pope
Ben Wheatley‘s reputation grows every time he comes up with a new film, and while his gory, pitch-black comedy “Sightseers” might have seemed like an unlikely Cannes entry, it proved to be one of the best-reviewed films of the festival when it premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar last year. His latest, the psychedelic English Civil War tale “A Field In England,” is already finished, and now that he’s broken down the wall to Cannes, there’s every reason to think he’ll be back, only this time in the festival proper. A slot in the Un Certain Regard section seems like a better bet than the main competition, but you never know.

The Past” (dir. Asghar Farhadi)
Cast: Tahar Rahim, Bérénice Bejo, Babak Karimi
Unlike many of the filmmakers we’re pretty sure are heading to Cannes, Asghar Farhadi would be a first timer on the Croisette as the Iranian filmmaker’s breakthroughs “About Elly” and “A Separation” both premiered at Berlin in 2009 and 2011, respectively. But “The Past” wasn’t in the Berlin lineup last month (in fairness, it probably wasn’t ready in time), but given that it’s set in Paris, featuring previous Cannes darlings Tahar Rahim and Bérénice Bejo, this feels like a natural fit, and would be a real coup for the festival.

“Jimmy Picard” (dir. Arnaud Desplechin) 
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Mathieu Amalric, Gina McKee, Elya Baskin
Though not linked to the festival in the imagination of cinephiles the same way as someone like Michael Haneke, French helmer Arnaud Desplechin is a regular at Cannes. Both his short and feature debuts, “La Vie des morts” and “La Sentinelle,” premiered on the Croisette in the early 1990s, and all of his films, bar 2004’s “Kings and Queen,” have played the fest, with 2008’s “A Christmas Tale” being the most recent. He’s making his second English-language film with based-in-fact tale “Jimmy Picard,” and is bringing some star power with him in the shape of Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric, so this seems like an obvious one for inclusion. 

“Real” (dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa) 
Cast: Takeru Sato, Haruka Ayase, Kyoko Koizmi
While his non-genre film “Tokyo Sonata” won him new fans back in 2008, horror maestro Kiyoshi Kurosawa has mostly been absent from the screen since then, with last year’s five-part TV miniseries “Penance” being his only major work in between. But Kurosawa’s back on the big screen, and back to genre work with “Real,” about a man trying to release his lover from a coma by entering her subconscious. It sounds like it could be the right blend of the fantastical and the dramatic to get in the lineup, and with the filmmaker having taken the top prize in Un Certain Regard for “Tokyo Sonata,” it seems likely that the festival could ask him back for the main competition this time, especially with the film set to open in Japan on June 1st, just a few weeks after Cannes.
Snowpiercer” (Dir. Bong Joon-ho)
Cast: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Allison Pill, Ed Harris 
Though his breakthrough “Memories of Murder” was turned down by the festival, Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho has a growing reputation at Cannes. Monster movie “The Host” got rave reviews at the Directors’ Fortnight in 2006, and “Mother” repeated the feat in the Un Certain Regard sidebar three years later, while the director returned to head the Camera d’Or jury in 2011. His latest film, the train-set sci-fi “Snowpiercer,” is his first (partially) in English with a starry cast including Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer and Tilda Swinton, and as such, feels like the perfect fit to be his first film in the main competition, especially as The Weinstein Company are said to be targeting a summer release for the film. Or it could be meaty entry to the festival’s growing midnight lineup.

“Twelve Years a Slave” (dir. Steve McQueen)
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch
Having won the Camera d’Or for his feature debut “Hunger” back in 2008, Steve McQueen opted to go to Venice for his follow-up “Shame,” but all the stars look to be aligning for his third film, “Twelve Years A Slave,” to end up at Cannes. The film shot last summer and has been test screening recently, so it’s likely to be close to completion. Star/producer Brad Pitt has had major films at the last two festivals with “The Tree of Life” and “Killing Them Softly,” and has plenty of star power to bring with him in this picture. We suppose the major question here is whether the film is ready in time, but there’s no reason to think it won’t be. 

The Bling Ring” (dir. Sofia Coppola)
Cast: Emma Watson, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Claire Pfister, Georgia Rock, Carlos Miranda, Leslie Mann
As Cannes proved with their selection of “The Great Gatsby” as their opening film, the one thing they love as much as great movies, are big name stars. And while Sofia Coppola’s frothy, teens-gone-bad flick doesn’t look like a Palme d’Or winner, the film about celebrity and celebrity obsession will likely resonate. Coppola was on the Croisette previously with “Marie Antoinette,” and while we doubt this is the kind of movie that will garner a competition slot, an out of competition screening in advance of a summer release date? Yeah, that makes sense to us, and would be a great way to get some buzz for the flick. Not to mention that the possibility of Paris Hilton waltzing down the red carpet is probably already making the paparazzi get a little dizzy. 

“La Grande Bellezza” (dir. Paolo Sorrentino)
Cast: Toni Servillo, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Verdone, Isabella Ferrari and Giorgio Pasotti
After storming Cannes in 2008 with his Jury Prize winning “Il Divo,” Paolo Sorrentino stumbled when he returned to the Croisette three years later with “This Must Be Place.” However, reuniting with Toni Servillo, his lead in “Il Divo,” the director’s latest effort “La Grande Bellezza” could find him back in the good graces of the jury. The film tells a seemingly Fellini-esque tale of a journalist looking to recapture his youth in contemporary Rome, and we’d wager a competition slot is open for Sorrentino if he wants it. The movie is slated to open in April in Italy, but a local bow shouldn’t affect a Cannes appearance if the work is strong. 

Only God Forgives” (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Tom Burke, Sahajak Boonthanakit
Nicolas Winding Refn made his debut at Cannes two years ago with “Drive” and came away with a Best Director Award trophy for his trouble. The festival tends to look after its own, and while there was some speculation that his new film, which shot at the end of 2011, could be ready for the fall festival circuit last year, Cannes always seemed the better bet for his Bangkok-set, ultraviolent re-team with Ryan Gosling. And with the film heading to theaters in Scandinavia on May 23rd, the smart money’s on the film being unveiled at Cannes during the week before that.  

“Tom à la ferme” (dir. Xavier Dolan)
Cast:  Eric Bruneau, Lise Roy, Evelyne Brochu, Caleb Landry Jones
Will Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan make it four-for-four at Cannes with his latest, “Tom à la ferme”? Will he finally get the coveted competition slot that has eluded him, much to his disappointment last year for “Laurence Anyways”? We shall see, but it’s hard to deny that the divisive filmmaker isn’t bringing some compelling material to the table. Moving into the thriller genre, the picture is an adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard‘s play following the titular Tom, who meets the family of his deceased lover. However, his former partner’s sexual orientation and relationship status is a surprise to the family, and it brings with it grave repercussions. The film is in post, and we’d wager the odds are good to see Dolan on the red carpet again.

The Congress” (dir. Ari Folman)
Cast: Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee
If you’re looking for one film with the potential to match the genre-hopping mind-bending madness of “Holy Motors” from last year, it might well turn out to be in the shape of “The Congress.” The second film from Ari Folman, whose debut “Waltz With Bashir” was a sensation at the festival in 2008, it’s an adaptation of a sci-fi short story by Stanislaw Lem (“Solaris”), mixing live-action and animation, with a big-name cast. It’s been in the works for ages now, but looks to be nearing completion, and given Folman’s success last time, if the film’s ready, we’d be very surprised if it didn’t turn up on the Croisette.

“Atilla Marcel” (dir. Sylvain Chomet)
Cast: Guillaume Gouix, Anne Le Ny, Jean-Claude Dreyfus
Ten years ago, Sylvain Chomet‘s animated “Belleville Rendez-vous” premiered at Cannes, going on to become an international success (it was retitled “The Triplets Of Belleville” for the U.S). Now, in 2013, Chomet’s making his live-action debut with this offbeat comedy-drama, and only a fool would discount it as a serious contender for festival inclusion. While his last film, “The Illusionist,” was a Berlin premiere, Chomet wrapped on “Atilla Marcel” in September, so the dates line up nicely, and it would certainly be one of the most high-profile local contenders. 

Only Lovers Left Alive (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
Cast: Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, Tom Hiddleston
Outside of Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic, there are few locks for Cannes, but this is pretty much one of them. A long-time presence on the Croisette with a Palme d’Or (the short “Cigarettes & Coffee III”), a Grand Prix (“Broken Flowers”), a Golden Camera (“Stranger Than Paradise”) and Best Artistic Contribution (“Mystery Train”) for his efforts, the fest loves him, and clearly he likes going there too. If this is finished in time, which we’re betting it will be, you can go ahead and bank his starry vampire tale an in competition slot. It’s practically there waiting for him.


“Monsters University” (dir. Dan Scanlon)
Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren
The presence of some kind of animated studio blockbuster at Cannes in the last few years has been a constant, with “Up,” two “Kung Fu Panda” films,” “Over The Hedge” and “Madagascar 3” all unspooling there. This year there are a few options: DreamWorks‘ “Turbo” is possible, but it doesn’t hit until July, and there’s Fox‘s “Epic,” but the studio don’t have the previous form of its competitors (though it’s not an impossible idea). That makes “Monsters University” probably the most likely. Pixar‘s latest hits about four weeks after the festival, so it’s close enough to get a boost from a Cannes showing, and the festival’s shown that they’re not averse to animated sequels. 

“Star Trek Into Darkness” (dir. J.J. Abrams)
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch
The number of blockbusters getting a Croisette premiere tends to vary from year to year, and “The Great Gatsby” certainly ticks that box if there’s only one. But if there’s another, “Star Trek Into Darkness” could be viable. It opens in the U.K. on May 9th before hitting the U.S. a few days after the festival gets underway, so a big premiere there could give it a good boost into the domestic release. There have been rumors that something’s in the works, which Deadline says isn’t the case, but given the J.J. Abrams secrets factory, it could yet turn out to be bonafide. And oh yeah, jury president Steven Spielberg is total buds with the director.

“Under the Skin” (dir. Jonathan Glazer)
Cast: Scarlett Johansson
There are few films we have been as (im)patiently waiting for as Jonathan Glazer’s long awaited next feature, “Under the Skin,” following his tremendously underrated 2004 effort “Birth.” Filming began in the fall of 2011, reshoots took place in the fall of 2012, and we’re guessing the VFX work also caused some delays. But could this now, finally, be finished? Word around the picture has been dead quiet, so the status is a bit of a question mark, but we’d love to see Glazer return triumphant, with a truly unique alien movie under his arm, by premiering the picture at Cannes. Then again, “Birth” was a Venice premiere, so maybe that’s more likely?

“A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence” (dir. Roy Andersson)
Cast: Nisse Vestblom, Holger Andersson
It’s coming on six years since Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson’s “You, The Living.” While never known for being the fastest director (seven years passed between “Songs From The Second Floor” and ‘Living’) this capper to his trilogy is notable for being shot digitally (a technique that funders Nordisk Film said would make production go much faster…back in 2010…) But what’s the status? He’s been talking about it for years, and filming is apparently happening or has happened, and while 2014 is probably more likely, this could also surprise everyone by quietly sneaking into the lineup.

“Blood Ties” (dir. Guillaume Canet)
Cast: Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts
While director Guillaume Canet has never had his films figure into the Cannes lineup, the status of “Blood Ties” as a remake of the French-language “Les liens du sang,” has the benefit of recent festival favorites like Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in the cast, and perhaps most crucially, a script co-written by James Gray. Assuming “Lowlife” makes the lineup, does that make it more likely that “Blood Ties” makes the cut alongside it? From what we’ve heard, an early cut of the movie is done, with a bit more post-production work to go, so it sounds like it’s nearing the finish line.

“Abus de faiblesse” (dir Catherine Breillat)
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Kool Shen 
Catherine Breillat has been absent from Cannes for her last few films, with her fairy tale pictures “Bluebeard” and “Sleeping Beauty” bowing instead at Berlin and Venice. But tackling more personal material with “Abus de faiblesse” (about her relationship with con-man Christophe Rocancourt), the stage could be set for a return to the Croisette, especially with festival favorite Isabelle Huppert starring. Shooting didn’t get underway til October, so it’d be a tough turnaround (Venice may be the better bet), but not an impossible one.

“The Bastards” (dir. Claire Denis)
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Chiara Mastrioanni, Lola Creton
Claire Denis has been something of a favorite at the Venice Film Festival in recent years – everything she’s made in the last decade premiered on the Lido. But she is, of course, French, and had some of her greatest early successes, including “Chocolat,” at Cannes. Might her latest film see her first return to the festival since “Trouble Every Day” in 2001? It shot last August, so it should be ready in time, and it’s certainly one of the most eagerly anticipated foreign-language films of the year. Venice is probably still the safe bet, but given the recent change of artistic directorship there, Cannes seems like a possibility.

“Out of the Furnace” (dir. Scott Cooper)
Cast: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker
Muscular American crime movies have always been popular at Cannes, and with films like “Drive,” “Lawless,” “Killing Them Softly,” “Mud” and “The Paperboy” all premiering at the festival in the last few years, it seems that they’re particularly to selectors’ tastes at the moment. So “Out of the Furnace” might be a good bet in 2013. While Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart“) doesn’t have any previous work with the festival, he’s got plenty of acclaim, and the film’s been done for a while (there was talk of releasing it late in 2012). And with Christian Bale and Zoe Saldana among the cast, it’d bring some star wattage, too.

“Blue Jasmine” (dir. Woody Allen)
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Louis C.K.
Over the years, eleven of Woody Allen‘s films have shown at Cannes (five opening the festival, including most recently “Midnight In Paris“), with some of his biggest latter-day successes unspooling. Last year’s “To Rome With Love” skipped it, premiering in Italy before the festival, but his latest, a San Francisco-set tale featuring Cate Blanchett, seems more likely. The French love Woody, Woody loves the French, and Sony Pictures Classics already has a summer release date set, so it seems an inevitability.

“Panda Eyes” (dir. Isabel Coixet)
Cast: Sophie Turner, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Claire Forlani, Rhys Ifans, Geraldine Chaplin
A director that’s hard to pin down, Isabel Coixet has moved from Hollywood arthouse movies to European film and back again with ease, and in 2009 she hit Cannes with “Map of the Sounds of Tokyo” which didn’t make a big splash. But as she told Cineuropa last month, her next film “Panda Eyes” has finished filming. Based on the YA novel “Another Me” by Cathy MacPhail, it’s a supernatural thriller about doppelgangers. Is this the weighty fare that Cannes usually demands, or something more appropriate for a bigger fest with more programs to find a comfortable spot to premiere like TIFF?

“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” (dir. David Lowery)
Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Nate Parker
The festival has a habit in recent years of plucking one buzz film from the Sundance line-up and placing it in the Un Certain Regard section – “Precious,” “Blue Valentine,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” have all followed this route. As such, while there are other possibilities (“Fruitvale” probably the most notable), the smart money’s on “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” being the one from the 2013 crop. It probably has had the most wildly positive reviews, and seems the most in tune with the sidebar’s tastes. And most notably, while a plethora of acclaimed Sundance films hit SXSW this month, ‘Bodies’ wasn’t one of them. But will Cannes have their eyes on something else instead?
“Grace of Monaco” (dir. Olivier Dahan)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Derek Jacobi, Frank Langella, Paz Vega
The French Riviera setting and delve into cinematic history of this biopic of Grace Kelly make it a natural fit for a Cannes premiere to some degree, but filming only got underway in November, so it’s a tight turnaround. And our gut is that the film will probably be too conventional for a Competition slot, and moreover, it just feels more tailormade for a Venice, Telluride or TIFF. But last year Harvey Weinstein started awards season buzz at Cannes for “The Master,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained” with a sizzle reel presentation, and we could very well at least see footage pop up in that context.

“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” (dir. Ned Benson)
Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isabelle Huppert, Viola Davis, Bill Hader
Between “Take Shelter,” “The Tree of Life,” “Madagascar 3” and “Lawless,” Jessica Chastain can make a pretty sincere claim to being the Queen of Cannes in the last few years. She’s not quite so omnipresent this year, but it’s always possible that she could be back again with the linked double-feature “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers.” American indies from first time directors tend to come to Cannes via Sundance, but the concept is ambitious enough, and the cast (also including Isabelle Huppert) strong enough, that it could figure into the line up. And “Che” proved in 2008 that two-part films can still make the competition (though we suspect that Director’s Fortnight or Un Certain Regard are more likely for this one if it gets in). 

“The Double” (dir. Richard Ayoade)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Noah Taylor, Yasmin Paige, Wallace Shawn
2011’s “Submarine” marked the arrival of not just a fresh new comic voice in director Richard Ayoade, but also someone who really had his cinephile bonafides. And it’s likely that his follow-up, an adaptation of Dostoyevsky‘s novel, will appeal even more to the higher-minded film fan and festival programmer, so could certainly figure in to the lineup. Given that Ayoade’s a Cannes newcomer, it’s probably more likely to be in a sidebar, but the film wrapped long ago, and seems like it could be up Cannes’ street. Then again, a TIFF bow is equally likely.

“Goodbye to Language 3D” (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
Cast: Heloise Godet, Jessica Erickson, Zoe Bruneau, Kamel Abdeli, Dimitri Basil
Jean-Luc Godard‘s relationship to Cannes has always been a touch strained. The festival rejected “Breathless,” didn’t let him in the official competition until 1980, and the director didn’t even turn up when “Film Socialisme” screened there in 2010. But that certainly doesn’t rule out his latest film from making an appearance, particularly as it marks the New Wave legend’s first effort in 3D. Early synopses (which include a talking dog, of sorts) suggest that the film might be more accessible than anything we’ve seen from the filmmaker in a while, as does the fact that Fox have picked up the U.S. rights to the film. Accessible being, of course, a relative term. Anyway, you never know with Godard, but this is a definite possibility.

Long Shot

“Knight of Cups”/”Untitled Film Formerly Known As Lawless” (dir. Terrence Malick)
Cast: Everyone in Hollywood
This could just as easily slide under our Possibilities category, because you just never know. Terrence Malick has been working at a helluva clip of late, and seems to be more productive than ever. But with these two movies – one set against the backdrop of the movie biz, the other in the music scene – shooting last year back-to-back, we can only imagine the unbelievable stack of footage Malick’s teams of editors are sorting through, as they cut half the cast out and help him find the movie and tone he wants. But hey, Malick could be a multitasker and have one of them done for all we know. If it happens, we’ll be pleasantly surprised, but if it isn’t in the lineup, it won’t be a giant shock either.

“The Assassin” (dir. Hou Hsiao-Hien)
Cast: Shu Qi, Chang Chen, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Jack Kao, Nikki Hsieh
Now that Wong Kar-Wai‘s “The Grandmasters” has been unveiled, we need a new martial arts epic from an acclaimed director to look forward to, and “The Assassin,” a wuxia tale from Hou Hsiao-Hien, is undoubtedly the one to fill that slot. Few directors are more beloved of the Cannes Film Festival than Hou, a six-time Palme d’Or contender (though he’s never taken the prize), and ordinarily we’d consider him a lock for a slot. But the film finally started shooting (after a delay of at least two years) in October, and isn’t scheduled to wrap until April, making a Cannes bow this year virtually impossible. One to keep an eye on for the festival in 2014, though. 

“Serena” (dir. Susanne Bier)
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Toby Jones, Rhys Ifans, Sam Reid
After “Silver Linings Playbook,” a lot of eyes are going to be on this reteaming of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. And with a Great American Novel-sized scope and setting, it has all the trappings of an epic. But beyond small-time jury duty a few years back, director Susanne Bier has never really cropped up at Cannes, with Venice and TIFF being her more regular haunts, and we suspect that “Serena” will turn up at one of those rather than at Cannes. But with the star-wattage present, it could be a dark horse for the Croisette.

“The Zero Theorem” (dir. Terry Gilliam)
Cast: Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw, David Thewlis, Matt Damon
In the latter stages of his career at least, Terry Gilliam has been a familiar presence at the festival without ever quite becoming part of the wallpaper – “Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus” screened there, and twenty minutes of “The Brothers Grimm,” but “Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas” remains his only film to compete for the Palme d’Or. As such, it’s hard to tell how viable his latest movie, “The Zero Theorem,” is as a possibility for Cannes. The film didn’t start shooting until October, putting it right on the knife-edge in terms of whether it can be turned around in time, and knowing Gilliam’s luck, someone may have accidentally deleted most of the footage or something by now. That said, taking place in mostly a contained location, we’d reckon the post-production might not be on a sprawling schedule. If the film does feature (and our money would be on TIFF), it’s more likely to be out of competition, but you never know.

“The Counselor” (dir. Ridley Scott)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt
While he’s appeared at the festival here and there over the years (“Robin Hood” was the opener in 2010), Ridley Scott hasn’t competed for the Palme d’Or since his debut “The Duellists” in 1977. In some ways, “The Counselor” sounds like it could be his best bet. He’s got an all-star cast, including festival favorite Brad Pitt, and tough, grown-up source material from Cormac McCarthy (“No Country For Old Men“). But the film’s been produced by 20th Century Fox, who aren’t due to release the film until November, and we’re sure a big studio would rather not have the glitzy premiere of one of their big fall offerings six months before people can actually buy tickets for it. It’s not impossible (the film shot last summer, so it’s probably getting close to being ready), but we suspect Venice, Telluride or TIFF make more sense. And let’s not forget, the studio’s “Life of Pi” skipped all of those to premiere at the New York Film Festival last year. 

“The Young & Prodigious Spivet” (dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
Cast: Kyle Catlett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Callum Keith Rennie, Judy Davis, Kathy Bates
While he’s one of France’s best-known filmmakers, Jean-Pierre Jeunet is much less of a Cannes mainstay than you’d imagine. Of his films, only “The City Of Lost Children” was a Cannes premiere. So, while his new film, his first English-language film since “Alien: Resurrection,” and his first 3D picture, would be a big get, it’s probably not in the cards, especially as the film isn’t expected to be delivered until the end of the summer, making TIFF or NYFF more likely possibilities.“The Nymphomaniac” (dir. Lars von Trier)
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell
Even aside from the whole persona non grata that resulted after his ill-advised comments while promoting “Melancholia” at the festival two years ago (and there have been some suggestions that Lars von Trier‘s work is still welcome at the festival, just not so much the filmmaker himself), it’s very unlikely that von Trier’s latest will be on the Croisette this year, for the principal reason that it’s not ready: the film’s producer indicated that the two-part movie just wouldn’t be prepared in time to screen for contention. Will they hold on for Cannes 2014? Or will we see it at another festival this year? 

“Gravity” (dir. Alfonso Cuarón)
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated premieres of the year, and of course we’ve all got our fingers crossed that Alfonso Cuarón‘s space adventure premieres as soon as May. But given that Warners are releasing the film in October, they again probably don’t want such a major gap. If they go the festival route (which they’re likely to do), Telluride or Venice (where “Children of Men” got its premiere) are better bets, or perhaps TIFF where the WB unspooled the similarly ambitious “Cloud Atlas.” It’d be a real coup if it worked out for Cannes, but the chances are slim.

“Venus In Fur” (dir. Roman Polanski)
Cast: Emanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric
Roman Polanski is one for two when it comes to the Palme d’Or – he lost for “The Tenant,” but won for “The Pianist” a little over a decade ago. However, we’d be surprised if the filmmaker were at the festival, in or out of competition, with his latest, “Venus In Fur.” He only wrapped the film earlier this year, and even though it’s a two-hander, it’d be a swift turnaround for a film that might get more attention at Venice or TIFF. It’s not totally impossible, but we think the festival will be Polanski-free this year. 

Also Worth Mentioning: If Ron Howard‘s “Rush” goes the festival route, it’s more likely to be at Venice or Telluride, given its September release date, though he has been very busy in post, frequently tweeting pictures of late. Meanwhile, Spike Jonze has generally skipped the festival circuit with his previous work, and we’re not sure that’s going to change with new film “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix. The same probably goes for “Night Moves,” the new film from Kelly Reichardt; while “Wendy & Lucy” was at the festival a few years back, she’d be hard pushed to get the film ready on time. One film to watch in the Directors’ Fortnight section might be the Ben Whishaw-starring “Lilting,” while Hossein Amini‘s “The Two Faces Of January” could figure somewhere in the line-up as well, though TIFF is more likely. –Oliver Lyttelton, Kevin Jagernauth

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