Cannes 2015 Palme d’Or predictions

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Over the course of the next few days, the jury at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival will be deliberating and deciding on the newest group of award winners for the classy fest. Led by the incredibly prestigious Palme d’Or prize (their version of Best Picture), Cannes could just as easily launch something into the Oscar race as opposed to merely highlighting a smaller title. Historically, the festival has given us a bit of both, which makes it hard to accurately predict what a new jury will do each year. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen head up this one, so perhaps that favors English language contenders? But, perhaps that doesn’t matter? Predictions here are an even more inexact science than awards shows that have precursors of sorts. I’m still going to try, of course. Just know that these are basically shots in the dark. Regardless, enjoy them!

In short, there’s no guaranteed winners, but I think the main contenders to keep an eye on across the board are Todd Haynes’ Carol, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin, László Nemes’ Son of Saul, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, and Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario. Those five, along with perhaps Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster are the likeliest ones to contend for the Palme d’Or as well as possibly some acting prizes as well. The most buzz seems to surround Carol, Son of Saul, and Youth, but Sicario represents an interesting X factor. It would be a slightly mainstream pick, but with the sort of reviews out of the fest for it, anything is possible. One thing is for sure though…Cannes could very well hold a surprise or two, so all eyes are on the Coen Brothers and company on the jury. It’ll be interesting to compare this to the ultimate winners, which is what I’ll likely do early next week.

Here now are my Cannes award predictions, with brief commentary:

Palme d’Or

I’ve narrowed this down to Carol, The Lobster, and Son of Saul. Haynes’ romantic melodrama is the favorite right now, so I’m not going to go against my fellow pundits, but both The Lobster and Son of Saul would represent family unique choices. Nothing would surprise me here, but those three seem the most likely right now, though don’t count out Youth as well. I’m picking Carol, but I really kind of want to go on a limb with The Lobster. If only I were a bit bolder, I’d actually make the pick…

Prediction: Carol
Alternate: Son of Saul
Dark Horse: The Lobster

Grand Prix

A runner up prize of sorts, these next three aren’t out of Palme d’Or contention at all, but might see a better shot here. Essentially, Chinese work could very well be given the spotlight, or maybe an impending mainstream Oscar thriller? Basically, it’s The Assassin, Mountains May Depart, or Sicario. Villeneuve’s well regarded crime thriller is a spoiler of sorts, but I’m going with The Assassin, which also has a ton of buzz at the moment. It’s hardly a foregone conclusion though, that’s for sure.

Prediction: The Assassin
Alternate: Mountains May Depart
Dark Horse: Sicario

Director’s Prize

This prize usually differs from the Palme d’Or, but I’m going to go on a limb and say that there isn’t a split this year. That would give Haynes the win here too, though honestly I think he only winds up with one. I have no clue which one though. The same goes for either Nemes for Son of Saul or Villeneuve for Sicario, so take this as one of the most wide open of them all…

Prediction: Todd Haynes for Carol
Alternate: Denis Villeneuve for Sicario
Dark Horse: László Nemes for Son of Saul

Jury Prize

This is another where I just have no clue what will actually happen. Essentially, unless Matteo Garrone’s The Tale of Tales wins like some have speculated, this could be another place for either The Assassin or The Lobster. I’m scratching my head a lot here, but consider this category just a straight up guess…

Prediction: Hou Hsiao-hsien for The Assassin
Alternate: Matteo Garrone for Tale of Tales
Dark Horse: Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster

Best Actor

There hasn’t been as much buzz for the male performances this year as usual, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t solid contenders. Of late, Michael Caine has gotten the most buzz for his performance in Youth, though a few people seem to be predicting this as Tim Roth’s to lose, for his work in Chronic. Both are possibilities, but I also think that Géza Röhrig for Son of Saul is one to keep an eye on as well. Ultimately, I opted for Caine, but it’s a super close call.

Prediction: Michael Caine for Youth
Alternate: Géza Röhrig for Son of Saul
Dark Horse: Tim Roth for Chronic

Best Actress

The ladies at Cannes have had some strong reviews this year, with Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt, Rooney Mara, and Zhao Tao at the forefront. Blanchett and Mara could wind up sharing the prize for Carol, but if one is the more likely victor, it’s Blanchett. A lot of folks are predicting Tao for Mountains May Depart, but I’m going to go with a slightly surprising pick in Blunt for Sicario. I just doubt the film winds up going home empty handed in the end.

Prediction: Emily Blunt for Sicario
Alternate: Cate Blanchett and/or Rooney Mara for Carol
Dark Horse: Zhao Tao for Mountains May Depart

Best Screenplay

Another category where the Palme d’Or winner likely doesn’t score a second win, it’s still hard to figure out what emerges victorious here. Phyllis Nagy could come out of nowhere to win for Carol, but I think she’s less likely. Sorrentino might win for Youth, but I think Lanthimos’ script with Efthymis Filippou for The Lobster is what wins the day in the end to go home with some sort of an honor…

Prediction: Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for The Lobster
Alternate: Paolo Sorrentino for Youth
Dark Horse: Phyllis Nagy for Carol

Stay tuned to see what/who wins at Cannes in the coming days!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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