This week, the 2022 Cannes Film Festival launched, in all of its in person glory. Starting up the fest was Michel Hazanavicius‘ horror effort Final Cut, itself a remake of One Cut of the Dead. It kicked off a Cannes that was more than a year in the making. Obviously, two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic kept the festival from occurring, while last year, things returned to the South of France, allowing the country to host some of the finest that international cinema has to offer. As things get underway, the movies obviously aren’t just attempting to draw in critical acclaim. They’re also hoping to get Academy Award buzz, helping to launch the beginnings of an awards season that’s aching to begin. Today, much like we did around this time last year (here), we’ll look at what’s hoping to capitalize on the buzz, as well as whether that’s something that usual happens at the festival.
As a reminder, Cannes doesn’t historically launch Oscar fare, or at least more than one or two major contenders a year. Even then, it’s more often in the Best International Feature (formerly the Best Foreign Language Feature) category. The recent success of something like Bong Joon Ho‘s Parasite is far more the exception than the rule. To that end, will something this year be another Parasite, or are we looking at a quiet Cannes, Oscar wise? Last year, Drive My Car and The Worst Person in the World were able to score multiple Academy Award nominations, while would-be contenders like The French Dispatch, A Hero, Red Rocket, and Stillwater ultimately were snubbed. Then, there was Titane, which took home the Palme d’Or but couldn’t get the Academy to notice it.
So far, Top Gun: Maverick is actually the biggest title to have screened so far, at least in terms of scale, but it feels like an Oscar long shot, outside of the technical categories. My rave is here, so don’t think I don’t consider it wonderful, but I’m trying to be realistic. Now, perhaps it will surprise, but the odds just don’t favor it right now.
Also having just screened is James Gray‘s Armageddon Time, with the requisite mix of raves and shrugged shoulders that the filmmaker always seems to bring out. Some say it’s the best of the early days of the fest, while others say it’s a disappointment. In all likelihood, it means yet another Gray title will only be on the periphery of the awards season, but we shall see…
What else is a possibility then? Well, that depends. The most likely player is Baz Lurhmann‘s Elvis, just given the material. Other options include Park Chan-wook‘s Decision to Leave, David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s Broker, George Miller‘s Three Thousand Years of Longing, Ruben Östlund‘s Triangle of Sadness, and Kelly Reichardt‘s Showing Up, which takes into account more than just the In Competition titles. These are the more likely contenders, at least on the surface. Perhaps a surprise player emerges, but these movies suggest the easiest fits for the Academy to consider.
Once more for those in the back, Cannes usually is not a massive Oscar launching pad. So, it’s not a huge shock that we may have to wait for the true awards season contenders to rear their heads. That being said, if you’re looking for films to back for awards contention here, look at Broker, Decision to Leave, Elvis, and Three Thousand Years of Longing. Those three are the safest bets, especially going by some of the early buzz, plus the fun X factor of Top Gun: Maverick. It all remains to be seen, though, so sit tight for the rest of the cinematic year…
Stay tuned to see how the 2022 Cannes Film Festival impacts the Academy Award race!