Pat­tin­son, San­dler lead Os­car con­tenders out of Cannes

Cape Breton Post - - Arts/Entertainment - BY JAKE COYLE

It’s a long way from May in France to Fe­bru­ary in Los An­ge­les, but the Cannes Film Festival has of­ten been a breed­ing ground for Acad­emy Awards cam­paigns.

The Os­cars aren’t much on the minds of the film­mak­ers or at­ten­dees in Cannes; the festival is its own achieve­ment, with nearly as much spec­ta­cle and pres­tige as the Acad­emy Awards. Os­car po­ten­tial, though, is of­ten born in Cannes, and some early hand­shak­ing with the Hol­ly­wood For­eign Press, which puts on the Golden Globes, is some­times sneaked into busy sched­ules.

Not since 2011’s “The Artist’’ has a Cannes Palme d’Or win­ner gone on to win best pic­ture. And, if any­thing, the fall gaunt­let of fes­ti­vals — Tel­luride, Toronto, Venice, New York — has re­cently only re­asserted it­self as the pre­miere path to the Os­cars. Such was the road of most of the re­cent best-pic­ture winners, in­clud­ing “Moon­light,’’ ‘’Bird­man” and ‘’12 Years a Slave.”

Still, Cannes last year kick­started even­tual nom­i­nees like the best-pic­ture can­di­date “Hell or High Wa­ter,’’ Is­abelle Huppert (“Elle’’), Ruth Negga (“Lov­ing’’), “The Lob­ster’’ (which scored a screen­play nod) and for­eign-lan­guage win­ner “The Sales­man.’’ The 2015 Cannes ac­counted for nearly 20 nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing “Mad Max: Fury Road,’’ ‘’Carol,” ‘’In­side Out” and ‘’Son of Saul.”

This year’s festival, which con­cludes Sun­day with the Palme d’Or pre­sen­ta­tion, might not pro­duce such a haul as that. But stand­ing ova­tions on the Croisette ap­pear likely to lead to awards con­sid­er­a­tion for a number of big names — some of whom aren’t the usual sus­pects.

ADAM SAN­DLER — When San­dler has waded into drama, he’s of­ten won raves. But even more than his turns in “Punch Drunk Love’’ and “Span­glish,’’ San­dler’s ten­der, rum­pled per­for­mance as a re­cently di­vorced fa­ther in Noah Baum­bach’s “The Meyerowitz Sto­ries (New and Se­lected)’’ was hailed as a new high point for the Sand Man. The Netflix re­lease could also earn some at­ten­tion for Dustin

Hoffman, who with typ­i­cal dis­tinc­tion plays the prickly fa­ther of San­dler in the film.

NI­COLE KID­MAN — It’s less a ques­tion of whether Kid­man will be back in the Os­car hunt than for which film. She had two in com­pe­ti­tion in Cannes: Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos’ “The Lob­ster’’ fol­low-up “The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer’’ and Sofia Cop­pola’s “The Beguiled,’’ a re­make of Don Siegel’s 1971 Civil War thriller. While the nod for “The Lob­ster’’ sug­gests con­sid­er­able sup­port for Lan­thi­mos’ grandly de­mented come­dies, the hand­some pe­riod piece “The Beguiled’’ — in which Kid­man plays the head­mas­ter of a Vir­ginia girls’ board­ing school — is prob­a­bly the more likely shot. If the movie, which opens June 30, earned enough buzz, it could lead to at­ten­tion for oth­ers, too, like Colin Farrell (Kid­man’s costar in “Sa­cred Deer’’), Kirsten Dunst and Cop­pola’s di­rect­ing.

ROBERT PAT­TIN­SON — Pat­tin­son’s former “Twi­light’’ co-star, Kris­ten Ste­wart, has used Cannes to show a new side to her­self in films like “Clouds of Sils Maria’’ and “Personal Shop­per.’’ Now, Pat­tin­son has, too. His scruffy, scuzzy per­for­mance as a Queens bank rob­ber in Benny and Josh Safdie’s “Good Time’’ was im­me­di­ately hailed at a ca­reer-best for the 31-yearold ac­tor.

WIND RIVER — As the writer of “Hell or High Wa­ter’’ and “Si­cario,’’ Tay­lor Sheri­dan’s Texas tales have al­ready earned him a rep­u­ta­tion for in­tense and weighty crime dra­mas. “Wind River,’’ which first pre­miered at Sun­dance in Jan­uary, makes it three in a row for Sheri­dan, now mak­ing his di­rec­to­rial de­but. The film is about a mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion on an In­dian Reser­va­tion and its lead, Jeremy Ren­ner, is also a stand­out.

THE FLORIDA PROJECT — Sean Baker’s pre­vi­ous film, “Tan­ger­ine,’’ didn’t make it to the Os­cars, but it nearly did, land­ing on top-10 lists and tak­ing crit­ics awards — all de­spite be­ing shot on an iPhone. For “The Florida Project,’’ Baker switched to 35mm for this story about a pair of poor 6-year-old girls liv­ing in Or­lando bud­get mo­tels and in the shadow of Walt Dis­ney World. It was one of the few ru­n­away hits of the festival.

WON­DER­STRUCK — Todd Haynes’ “Won­der­struck’’ might not boast awards-friendly lead per­for­mances like Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in his last film, “Carol.’’ But “Won­der­struck,’’ Haynes’ adap­ta­tion of Brian Selznick’s young-adult book, is ev­ery bit as finely crafted in stitch­ing to­gether two par­al­lel story lines be­tween 1927 and 1977. Large parts of the film are also mostly word­less — there have been “The Artist’’ com­par­isons — with Haynes us­ing all his cin­e­matic abil­i­ties to weave his magic. Carter Bur­well’s score, at the least, should be an au­to­matic.

AND OTH­ERS — Cannes en­tries will surely help fill the for­eign-lan­guage cat­e­gory, and early pos­si­bil­i­ties in­clude the French AIDS drama “120 Beats Per Minute’’; An­drey Zvyag­int­sev’s “Le­viathan’’ fol­low-up, “Love­less’’; and Ruben Ostlund’s “The Square.’’ And it would be dif­fi­cult to ever count out Tilda Swin­ton, who — as she did in the Coen brothers’ “Hail, Cae­sar!’’ — plays twin sis­ters, this time in Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja.’’

Few would have guessed that Huppert or, for that mat­ter, “Mad Max,’’ would be­come such an awards force com­ing out the last two fes­ti­vals. But with eight months to go un­til the Os­cars, the bounty from Cannes surely holds more sur­prises in store.


Ac­tor Robert Pat­tin­son poses for pho­tog­ra­phers dur­ing the photo call for the film “Good Time” at the 70th in­ter­na­tional film festival, Cannes, south­ern France, on THurs­day. It’s a long way from May in France to Fe­bru­ary in Los An­ge­les, but the Cannes Film Festival has of­ten been a breed­ing ground for Acad­emy Awards cam­paigns.

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