Predicting The 2014 Cannes Film Festival Lineup: What Films Will Walk The Red Carpet With ‘Grace Of Monaco’?

Predicting The 2014 Cannes Film Festival Lineup: What Films Will Walk The Red Carpet With 'Grace Of Monaco'?
Predicting The 2014 Cannes Film Festival Lineup: What Films Will Walk The Red Carpet With 'Grace Of Monaco'?

In a month or so the official selection for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival will be announced. Which means we’ve got about thirty days left of rampant speculation, debating and hypothesizing about which titles are going to make it into the Big Show this year. To get us all started, we’ve compiled a list of the titles we think are the strongest contenders to put in an appearance on the Croisette, whether In Competition (to be judged by a Jury presided over this year by Palme d’Or winner Jane Campion) or in one of the headache-inducing number of sidebars, after the glitzy gala premiere of “Grace of Monaco” kicks off proceedings in earnest on May 14th.

As ever, compiling this list has whetted our appetite for this year’s festival with a large number of films that cropped up on our Most Anticipated Films of the Year list looking like promising candidates. But as much as we’re thinking about the fiesta of filmmaking that will be on offer, we’re also wondering what this year’s controversies will be: Cannes can always be relied upon to yield something chatter-worthy in its lineup, whether it’s the near-absence, like female directors last year, or a perceived lack of balance as regards titles from certain regions or countries. So let’s dive right in and take a look at what very well may be unspooling for, shall we?

Clouds of Sils Maria” (dir. Olivier Assayas)

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Chloe Moretz, Kristen Stewart, Bruno Ganz, Daniel Bruhl, Brady Corbet and Johnny Flynn
As sure a bet as any on this list, Assayas has been In Competition in Cannes on three previous occasions, more recently screened “Carlos” and “Boarding Gate” there too, and served on the Jury in 2011. And with this starry international cast, headed by French acting royalty in the person of Binoche, who also initiated the project, along with an arch sounding, inside baseball premise (an aging grande dame actress is usurped by a younger model), the feted French director’s English-language debut seems a shoo-in not just for a slot, but for being one of the most anticipated films of the festival.

Birdman” (dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
Cast: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Zach Galafianakis
Given that three of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s four features to date premiered at Cannes (“21 Grams” was at Venice, while “Amores Perros” won the top prize at Critics’ Week sidebar on the Croisette, “Babel” got Best Director, and “Biutiful” took Best Actor), it would appear to be a no-brainer that his latest, a change-of-pace comedy about a superhero movie actor (Keaton) trying to reinvent his career on Broadway, would be headed to the South of France. The movie shot from March to June last year, so it should be perfectly timed to be completed in time for the festival, too. Will a shift into lighter territory finally bring Inarritu the top prize, or will the film turn out to be his “This Must Be The Place“? Update 4.14.14: Fox Searchlight has revealed that “Birdman” will not be coming to Cannes.

Maps to the Stars” (dir. David Cronenberg)
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams and Carrie Fisher (as ‘Herself’)
At this stage David Cronenberg is close to Cannes royalty, having been in Competition four times, winning the Jury Prize in 1995 for “Crash,” and picking up a Lifetime Achievement award in 2006. Indeed his last film, “Cosmopolis” (his first team-up with star Robert Pattinson who returns here in a pretty amazing ensemble) made it onto the Croisette in 2012 and this one has an even more appealing premise: it’s a twisted Hollywood story following two former child stars and their run-ins with drugs, pyromania and a movie star haunted by her dead mother. We’d say a competition slot is very likely (and now slotted with a May 21 release date in France, this is a certainty)

Leviafan” (dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev)
Cast: Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov
Having won the Golden Lion at Venice with his 2003 debut “The Return,” and winning Best Actor at Cannes with follow-up “The Banishment,” it was a little puzzling that the director’s third film, the excellent “Elena,” was relegated to Un Certain Regard in 2011. But given that it won the Special Jury Prize, and that most onlookers called it a better film than many in Competition, expect the Russian helmer to be back in the main lineup this time around. The film, a retelling of the story of Job centered around the conflict between a mechanic and the corrupt local mayor, is apparently more ambitious than its predecessor, and producers confirmed last month that they’re targeting a Cannes premiere, so this looks like a good bet.

The Homesman” (dir. Tommy Lee Jones)
CastTommy Lee JonesHilary Swank, Meryl Streep, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Hailee Steinfeld, William Fichtner, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson, John Lithgow and David Dencik
Remarkably, Cannes is one of the few places that didn’t undervalue Tommy Lee Jones’ terrific directorial debut “Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” giving it a Competition berth and awarding Jones himself with the Best Actor award. This time out, this story of a claim jumper teaming up with a pioneer woman to transport three mentally unstable women from Nebraska to Iowa has such an insanely heavyweight cast that, assuming it’s ready (and it shot all the way back in May of 2013) we can safely assume it’s heading for the Croisette, and it seems likely to offer the kind of attention-grabbing roles to its principals that may well make it part of the awards conversation beyond Cannes too.

A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Its Existence” (dir. Roy Andersson)
Cast: Holger Andersson, Nisse Vestblom
For a certain crowd, there’s no Cannes potential more exciting than the return of unique Swedish master Roy Andersson: since his debut in 1970, the helmer’s only made four movies, and it’s seven years since his last, 2007’s “Yours, The Living.” Completing the trilogy that includes that film and 2000’s wonderful “Songs From The Second Floor,” his latest, described by the director as “enormous, deep and fantastic, humorous and tragic and philosophical,” has been in the works for a while now, but looks to be heading for the light of day, and Andersson’s website says it’s targeting a spring 2014 premiere. And given that his last two films were there, that would definitely seem to point to Cannes.

The Rover” (dir. David Michod)
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce, Scoot McNairy, David Field, Anthony Hayes
Not every filmmaker can be a returning face at Cannes—everyone needs to make their Croisette debut at some point. One of the most likely to be headed to the South of France this year would appear to be Australian filmmaker David Michod, who announced himself as a major talent with “Animal Kingdom” a few years back. His latest, a moody post-apocalyptic Western with some serious star power attached, looks like potential Cannes territory, has been gently rumored for a while, and appears to be perfectly timed — it shot in January 2013, already has a teaser trailer out there, and will be released in the U.S. by A24 in July.

Le Rancon De La Gloire (The Price Of Glory)” (dir. Xavier Beauvois)
Cast: Benoit Poelvoorde, Chiara Mastroianni, Peter Coyote, Nadine Labaki, Dolores Chaplin
Actor-turned-director Xavier Beauvois has figured into the festival many times (he appeared in “House Of Tolerance” and “A Villa In Italy” in recent years), but his greatest success at the festival came in 2010, with “Of Gods And Men” — the austere drama about French monks in Algeria won the Grand Prix at the festival, where Beauvois had also taken the Jury Prize in 1995 for “Don’t Forget You’re Going To Die.” His follow-up as a filmmaker seems to be a bit of a change of pace: it’s a dark comedy set in Switzerland in 1977 about two cons who team up to steal the coffin of the recently deceased Charlie Chaplin. Even if it seems like lighter fare, a return to the scene of his prior triumph seems likely.

Saint Laurent” (dir. Bertrand Bonello)
Cast: Gaspard Ulliel, Lea Seydoux, Louis Garrel, Jeremie Renier, Amira Casar
Like a French Truman Capote, 2014 has seen a pair of dueling biopics of legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent make their way to the screen. A take by Jalil Lespert premiered at Berlin (to middling reviews, including ours), but “Saint Laurent,” while unauthorized, is higher-profile, with a big name cast and Cannes regular Bertrand Bonello (“House Of Tolerance”) at the helm. The film was originally set to debut in May in France, making it something of a dead cert, but was released delayed a few months. Is that to give it more time to build after a Croisette premiere, or a sign that it won’t be ready for the festival?

The Cut” (dir. Fatih Akin)
Cast: Tahar Rahim, George Georgiou, Akin Gazi
Writer/director Akin already is a Cannes favorite–he won the screenplay prize in 2007 for the immensely touching “The Edge of Heaven” (the second part of his thematic “Love, Death and the Devil” trilogy that “The Cut” will conclude) and last year he screened his documentary “Polluting Paradise.” Beyond that, the film’s star, Tahar Rahim is himself no stranger to the Croisette, having two films there last year, and here taking on a Chaplin/Sergio Leone-influenced role in which he apparently doesn’t speak a word. So a competition slot is very likely here, and though plot details are thin, with that intriguing-sounding role, Rahim could well be a contender for an acting prize too. Update 4.15.14: Akin has evidently pulled the film from the festival, so you can count it out. You can read some of the speculative rumors as to why, here.

The Search” (dir. Michel Hazavanicius)
Cast: Berenice Bejo, Annette Bening
The surprise sensation of the 2011 festival, “The Artist” proved to be an enormous crowd-pleaser, was snapped up by Harvey Weinstein, and went on to win Best Picture, Director and Actor at the Oscars. As such, all eyes will be on the festival this year to see if helmer Michel Hazavanicius can repeat the trick with his follow-up, a remake of Fred Zinnnemann’s 1948 wartime weepie “The Search,” updated to be set in present-day Chechnya, and starring “The Artist”’s Berenice Bejo. The film began shooting last August, giving Hazavanicius just enough room to get it ready for the festival. Could Bejo even repeat her Best Actress win from last year’s “The Past”?

Two Days, One Night” (dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardennes)
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione
Belgian writer-directors Dardenne Brothers are such Cannes mainstays that we’re surprised no one’s named a street after them so far: every one of their films since 1999’s “Rosetta” has premiered at the festival, and they’ve in the very small club of those who’ve won the Palme D’Or twice (for “Rosetta” and 2005’s “The Child”). Could they become the first to take the prize for the third time? Their latest, which sees them work with megastar Marion Cotillard, who plays a woman trying to convince colleagues to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job, seems as potent as ever, and having shot in June last year, it’s basically a dead cert to be at the festival.

Jimmy’s Hall” (dir. Ken Loach)
Cast: Barry Ward, Simone Kirby, Andrew Scott, Brian O’Byrne, Jim Norton
Not every Ken Loach film has premiered at Cannes, but in the last twenty-five years, it’s been very rare for them to go anywhere else. That era looks to be coming to an end, as “Jimmy’s Hall” is said to be the last narrative feature from the veteran British director. As such, the film, about an Irish communist leader who returns to Dublin in 1932 to reopen his dance hall, is basically a lock for the festival this year, especially with a UK release date of May 30th already set. Could Loach cap his career with a second Palme D’Or? It’d certainly be a fitting tribute to a great filmmaker…

The Blue Room” (dir. Mathieu Amalric)
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Lea Drucker, Stephanie Cleau
Thanks to his Bond villainy, and collaborations with directors as diverse as Julian Schnabel, Steven Spielberg and Wes Anderson, Mathieu Amalric is a familiar face on screen even to those who shy away from subtitled fare. In the U.S, his directing career is less well known, but he’s certainly getting there: his last film, “On Tour,” won him Best Director at Cannes in 2010. As such, it seems safe to expect a return trip with his new one, a sexually-charged thriller based on a novel by pulp favorite Georges Simenon, the creator of Inspector Maigret, and who’s previously provided the source material for films by Claude Chabrol, Jean-Pierre Melville and Bela Tarr.

Welcome To New York” (dir. Abel Ferrera)
Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Jacqueline Bisset, Paul Calderon, Amy Ferguson
Abel Ferrera has never been much of a Cannes mainstay—only his 1993 “Body Snatchers” re-do played the festival in competition, and in general the director’s favored Venice premieres for his work. But if the “Bad Lieutenant” helmer ever returns to Cannes, it’d be with his latest—the French may find the temptation of a thinly veiled portrait of disgraced IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned after a number of sexual assault allegations, too much to resist. The film shot over a year ago, and premiered footage for buyers at last year’s festival, so it makes sense that it’d screen in full this time, though we can see it being hosted in a sidebar rather than in the main competition line-up.

Amour Fou” (dir. Jessica Hausner)
Cast: Christian Friedel, Birte Schnoeink, Stephan Grossmann
Last year’s Cannes drew fire for the paucity of female directors represented (and the sole Competition entry from a woman, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s “A Castle in Italy” turned out to be deeply smug) and while this year’s possibles again contain very few, one very good shot has got to go to Jessica Hausner’s follow-up to Venice winner “Lourdes.” Based on the life of dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, that ended in a double suicide with his lover, the film shot back in February of last year, so no doubt it’s ready and Hausner is must be hoping to return with it to Cannes for the fourth time–though this may represent her best chance yet to crack into the main competition line-up.

Winter Sleep” (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Cast: Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sozen and Demet Akbag
Odds are very short on this one, as it shot all the way back in January 2013 and has been primed for a Cannes bow for quite a while now. All but two of Ceylan’s films have premiered in Cannes, and he’s won the Grand Prix twice (for “Uzak” in 2003 and for his last film, 2011’s masterful, brilliant “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”). To our mind, starting from a very high base Ceylan’s been getting better and better, so not only is this story, of a retired actor cooped up in a hotel with his wife and sister when the winter snows set in, a surefire Cannes inclusion, it’s one we can’t wait to check out too.

Mr. Turner” (dir. Mike Leigh)
Cast: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Roger Ashton-Griffiths
With a Palme d’Or and a Best Director award already under his belt (for “Secrets and Lies” and “Naked” respectively) any new Mike Leigh movie has got to be a major contender for a Cannes competition slot (he’s been there four times so far, “All or Nothing” and “Another Year” being the other two competition players). And this apparently handsomely-mounted period biopic of artist JMW Turner, which reteams him with Spall and Manville, seems to have been eyeing a Cannes premiere for a while. In fact, while nearest Leigh equivalent “Topsy Turvy” premiered in Venice, it would be a surprise if this one didn’t find a place in Cannes.

The Normal Heart” (dir. Ryan Murphy)
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parson, Julia Roberts, Jonathan Groff, Alfred Molina
With TV no longer seen as a second-class medium, Cannes have embraced the premium cable revolution: 2012 saw the premiere of HBO’s “Hemingway And Gellhorn,” while last year saw no fewer than three movies from the network, with “Behind The Candelabra” in competition, and special screenings of “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” and “Seduced And Abandoned.” The obvious candidate for this slot this time around is “The Normal Heart,” the star-studded adaptation of Larry Kramer’s acclaimed HIV-themed drama from “Glee” and “American Horror Story” director Ryan Murphy. With the movie premiering on HBO on May 25th, the stage seems all but set for this to stop over in Cannes for a premiere first, though following the Liberace film into competition might be a stretch this time.

Kuime” (dir. Takashi Miike)
Cast: Ko Shibasaki, Hitomi Katayama, Ebizo Ichikawa, Hideaki Ito, Maiko
Cannes isn’t the most genre-friendly festival, necessarily, but Takashi Miike is one of the few able to transcend that: he’s been in competition twice since the beginning of the decade, with 2011’s “Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai” and last year’s “Shield Of Straw.” The prolific Japanese director’s latest is an adaptation of “Yotsuya Kaidan,” arguably the most famous Japanese ghost story, a blood drenched tale of murder, incest and madness. Will it be too much for a return appearance for Miike, only a year after he last graced the festival? Perhaps, but given his current run, and a Japanese release date in August, it’s far from unthinkable.

Still The Water” (dir. Naomi Kawase)
Cast: Makiko Watanabe, Hideo Sakaki, Jun Murakami, Tetta Sugimoto, Miyuki Matsuda
The sole female director to have won the Palme d’Or, Jane Campion might be heading the jury this year, but once again, the festival looks like it could be very thin on the ground when it comes to films directed by women. But one of the best candidates to break that looks to be Naomi Kawase: the Japanese helmer’s “Suzaku” won the Camera d’Or in 1997, took the Grand Priz for “The Mourning Forest” in 2007, and was in competition with “Hanezu” in 2011. Her latest, about a young couple who find a dead body in the sea, shot last summer, and therefore should be ready with plenty of time to see Kawase return to the Croisette.

Coming Home” (dir. Zhang Yimou)
Cast: Gong Li, Chen Daoming
The nearest thing we’ve got to an International Superstar Chinese Director, Zhang’s last film, “The Flowers of War” may have been a disappointment, but we expect a return to form (which for Zhang, who directed “Raise the Red Lantern,” “Ju Dou,” “House of the Flying Daggers,” “Hero” and the stunning opening of the Beijing Olympics, is pretty damn high). He’s been to the Cannes competition three times (winning the Grand Prix for “To Live”) and this film, which reteams him with muse Gong Li will very likely make it four–it’s rumored to already be a done deal.The story follows an old man, who’d been sent to a labor camp, as he eventually returns to his family, and presumably sees Zhang work in a more intimate register than some of his epic outings.

Mommy” (dir. Xavier Dolan)
Cast: Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clement, Antione Olivier-Pilon
French-Canadian wunderkind Dolan (seriously, he’s not even 25 yet) is reportedly currently in post on his next film, and the film’s readiness was really the only question mark we had as to how strong a contender it would be for Cannes inclusion: three of his previous four films have debuted in Cannes, all three won awards in their respective sidebars and last year’s “Tom at the Farm” was warmly received out of Venice. This one sees him return to the familiar territory of a fraught mother/child relationship, and also reunites him with the stars of his previous films “I Killed My Mother” and “Laurence Anyways” so assuming the paint is dry, really the question is where it will find a spot in Cannes, rather than if. Perhaps this will be his first time in the main competition?

Nymphomaniac Vol II: Director’s Cut” (dir. Lars Von Trier)
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Jamie Bell, Shia LaBoeuf, Willem Dafoe
While we’d be hard pushed to name a single film that has had a more confusing release strategy than “Nymphomaniac” (two parts, each in two different versions, occasionally screened together but mostly not, with staggered worldwide release dates/festival bows), it has kept the conversation going. And Von Trier’s cut of Vol II may make it to Cannes just as the extended version of Vol I played Berlin–it’s just down to whether Cannes wants to get back in the Von Trier business. The two-time Palme D’Or winner stirred the pot with his “Persona Non Grata” Berlin T-shirt, but giving this cut an out of competition screening, (which is comparatively risk-free as it will already have played theaters in a different form) might be a good way to start to thaw out that relationship.

Retour a Ithaque” (dir. Laurent Cantet)
Cast: Jorge Perugorria, Isabel Santos, Fernando Hechevarria, Pedro Julio Diaz Ferran 
2008 Palme d’Or winner, for “The Class,” and director of the brilliant and beloved “Time Out” (2001) Laurent Cantet returned to Cannes, though to the Un Certain Regard section in 2012 as one of the directors of Cuba-set portmanteau film “7 Nights in Havana.” Since then he directed period-teen-female rebellion story “Foxfire” which was buzzed pre-TIFF ‘13 but failed to get a US release at all. But this film, which once again is set in Havana and follows the celebration of the return of a man who’d been in exile for 16 years, sounds like it could see him back on top form, and he does have home court advantage when it comes to Cannes…

On The Milky Road” (dir. Emir Kusturica)
Cast: Emir Kusturica, Monica Belluci, Sloboda Micalovic, Natasa Ninkovic, Davor Janjic
Another filmmaker in the two-time Palme D’Or winner club, Serbian director Emir Kusturica, but his work since the second of the two, 1995’s “Underground,” has been rather less notable. Nevertheless, Kusturica remains a Croisette mainstay, and his latest, his first fiction feature in seven years, is a likely competition entrant this time around. The film, a three-part extrapolation of an earlier short by the director, is apparently on the theme of “kindness,” with Kusturica himself taking the lead, alongside Monica Bellucci. The only potential stumbling block is a political one–Kusturica recently made the wrong kind of headlines for voicing support for President Putin’s actions in the Crimea, which may strike a sour note with organizers.

Far from the Madding Crowd” (dir. Thomas Vinterberg)
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Juno Temple, Tom Sturridge, Mathias Schoenaerts
The terrific “The Hunt” saw director Thomas Vinterberg back on top form, and back in the Cannes Competition for the first time since “The Celebration” picked up the Grand Jury Prize back in 1998. It scooped the Ecumenical prize and also a well-deserved Best Actor for Mads Mikkelsen, and also was nominated for a Foreign Film Oscar (shoulda won, imho). So between the director’s form and the very high-profile, Cannes-friendly cast, we can’t imagine this period adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel about a woman courted by three suitors isn’t high on the list, assuming it’s ready. And it shot back in September of last year which will make it a tighter squeeze than some, but by no means impossible.

How To Catch A Monster” (dir. Ryan Gosling)
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith, Saoirse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, Iain De Caestecker, Eva Mendes

Mathieu Amalric, Jodie Foster, James Franco and Guillaume Canet are among the actors-turned-directors who’ve had films featured at the festival in recent years, and it could be that their ranks are joined this time around by Ryan Gosling–the star, who featured at the festival in “Drive” and “Only God Forgives,” has stepped behind the camera for odd fable “How To Catch A Monster,” and it could well be a dark horse to feature somewhere in the lineup. The film began shooting a year before the festival is due to take place, and so should be ready in time, and though first-time directors sometime struggle to break into the Competition line-up, it could be one to keep an eye on for the sidebar segments.

Bypass” (dir. Duane Hopkins)
Cast: George MacKay, Benjamin Dilloway, Donald Sumpter, Charlotte Spencer, Felicity Gilbert
It was rather overshadowed by other social realist filmmakers like Andrea Arnold at the time, but British filmmaker Duane Hopkins’ feature debut “Better Things” was a powerful and memorable piece of work back in 2008. Five years on, he’s followed it up with gritty thriller “Bypass,” which focuses on an ill young man who works as a small-time fence, and toplines rising star George MacKay (“Sunshine On Leith,” “How I Live Now”). Hopkins’ short “Field” screened at the festival in 2001, and “Better Things” was at International Critics’ Week in ’08, so look for Hopkins to move up–Competition seems unlikely, but this could well end up in Director’s Fortnight or Un Certain Regard.

Magic In The Moonlight” (dir. Woody Allen)
Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Hamish Linklater
Woody Allen might have become a controversial figure in the U.S. again in the last few months, but it’s unlikely to mean that he’s any less of a favorite at Cannes—in the last decade, he premiered “Match Point,” “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” “You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger,” and “Midnight In Paris” at the festival. It’s three years since the latter picked up the best reviews he’d had in years, and with his new film also being a 1920s-set romantic comedy, and set on the French Riviera, it’d be natural to return to the area where he shot the film last July for the premiere. That said, with his last two skipping the festival, it could yet bypass the festival route, but it definitely feels like a good fit.

Free Fall” (dir. Giorgy Palfi)
Cast: Piroska Molnar, Reka Tenki, Zsolt Nagy, Zsolt Trill, Iren Bordan
With Bela Tarr supposedly retired, Hungarian cinema could use a new figurehead, and it might have arrived in the shape of Giorgy Palfi. The filmmaker’s second feature, “Taxidermia” made quite a splash at the festival back in 2006 as part of the Un Certain Regard section, and he was back at the festival with collage film “Final Cut” in 2012. His new film, “Free Fall,” sounds especially intriguing–it follows a woman who jumps off the roof of an apartment block, who gets glimpses into the lives of the inhabitants as she passes their windows on the way down. Palfi only shot the film in January, but has been planning a quick turnaround, and it’s expected to be complete by April, which should put him right in contention–perhaps even for a Competition slot?

Also Possible: Of course, these are only the most likely contenders: there’s room for plenty more surprises among the line-up. There’s often a big blockbuster or animated film playing out of competition (“Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Madagascar 3” and opener “The Great Gatsby” have ticked that box of late), so it’s possible that any of “How To Train Your Dragon 2,” “Godzilla,” “Maleficent” or “Edge Of Tomorrow” might show up in some form. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Clint Eastwood’s musical “Jersey Boys,” which opens in June — the director was at the festival with “Mystic River” and “Changeling.” In terms of U.S. product, we could see the premiere of Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” — he’d be a Cannes first-timer, but the film should be ready, having been pushed from last year, and would certainly provide a high-profile launch. Another delayed possibility is Susanne Bier’s “Serena” with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, though Bier tends to favor TIFF and Venice for her films. Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes” could yet be ready in time, while James Franco has two new films that should be ready, “Bukowski” and “Black Dog Red Dog,” and also features in Wim Wenders’ “Everything Will Be Fine,” another possibility, while troubled Western “Jane Got A Gun” might yet turn up.

In terms of more international fare, German helmer Christian Petzold is back with “Phoenix,” and while he normally unveils his films in Berlin, it wasn’t in the line-up this time, so could well turn up on the Croisette. 105-year-old Manoel De Olivera could be back too to make Eastwood look like a whippersnapper–his latest is “The Church Of The Devil,” but it’s unclear if it’ll be ready in time. French helmer Benoit Jacquot teams Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve for “3 Hearts,” which certainly makes that an option, while Christophe Honore’s “Metamorphosis,” Ruben Ostland’s “Tourist” and Wang Bing’s “Love & Hate” could all show up. And “Berberian Sound Studio” director Peter Strickland could well appear (probably in Un Certain Regard rather than in Competition) with his latest, the Ben Wheatley-produced “The Duke Of Burgundy.”

Longer Shots: Like we said, there’s always room for surprises, so there’s a faint chance that some of the below might turn up, but for various reasons, we wouldn’t bet the farm on any of the following. Many are hoping that Terence Malick’s “Knight Of Cups” (or its untitled companion piece) and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” will be viable, but that mostly seems like wishful thinking: who knows when the Malick picture(s) will be ready, or if he’ll be back at Cannes, while PTA’s increasingly been taking less traditional routes, and a December release date suggests a fall bow might be more likely. But we’d be happy to be wrong in both cases.

As regards big-star fare, Ramin Bahrani’s “99 Homes” could be ready, but the director’s premiered everything at Venice, so that’s a more likely home, while Jeff Nichols’ “Midnight Special,” which only just wrapped, probably won’t be ready in time. Michael Roskam’s “Bullhead” follow-up “The Drop,” with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace, could be a dark horse, as might Jon Stewart’s Iran-set directorial debut “Rosewater.” We’d be surprised if the Weinsteins premiered either “The Imitation Game” or “Suite Francaise” in full, but look for their traditional presentation of snippets of footage at some point. Liv Ullman’s “Miss Julie,” with Jessica Chastain, might be a better bet. The last few years have seen high-profile Sundance fare like “Fruitvale Station,” “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene” get their European bows in the sidebar competitions, but there’s not much from this year’s batch that seems all that likely. If anything does cross the Atlantic, though, we’d put our money on “Whiplash,” “Listen Up Philip” or maybe “The Sleepwalker.” Peter Bogdanovich’s “Squirrel To The Nuts” could pop up, though last we heard it was still being edited.

In terms of international directors, we have our fingers crossed for Hou Hsiao-Hien’s long-delayed “The Assassin,” but we won’t hold our breath, especially as it only just (finally) wrapped. Similarly, Christi Puiu’s “Sierra-Nevada,” Francois Ozon’s “The New Girlfriend,” Nanni Moretti’s “Mia Madre” all only shot in the last few months, so will likely hit Venice or TIFF instead. Mia Hansen-Love’s “Eden” is also a better bet for the fall, though could squeak in under the wire. Johnnie To’s a Cannes favorite, but rom-com sequel “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” seems like a stretch for a festival. Anthology picture “Rio I Love You” might be possible, as are new films by Andrzej Zulawski and Andreas Dresen. Finally, Godard’s long-awaited “Goodbye To Language 3D” might finally appear, but we’ve been burned before on that one. Know the scoop on the chances of these or any others getting The Call? Does the potential above get you excited for the festival? Let us know below. —Oli Lyttelton, Jessica Kiang

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