Cannes Awards Predictions: Can the Dardennes Win the Palme d’Or a Third Time?

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The 2022 Cannes Film Festival is nearing its conclusion, and soon the jury will be selecting awards for this year’s impressive, albeit quieter, slate of films. After last year’s “Titane” from Julia Ducournau made history as the first female-directed film to fully win the Palme d’Or (Jane Campion’s “The Piano” tied with “Farewell My Concubine” in 1993), at this point in the festival, it doesn’t seem likely that a woman-directed project will walk away with it this year.

“Forever Young” by French-Italian director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi seems to be the only film directed by a woman that has so far invoked any passion for bringing it to the finish line. Claire Denis’ “Stars at Noon,” Kelly Reichardt’s “Showing Up,” Leonor Serraille’s “Mother and Son” and Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix van Groeningen’s “Eight Mountains” are the other titles directed by women among the 21 contending features.

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Only eight filmmakers have won the coveted top festival prize more than once: Alf Sjöberg (1946, 1951), Francis Ford Coppola (1974, 1979), Bille August (1988, 1992), Emir Kusturica (1985, 1995), Shohei Imamura (1983, 1997), Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (1999, 2005), Michael Haneke (2009, 2012) and Ken Loach (2006, 2016).

Is it possible for the Dardenne brothers to become the first directors to win three times with their well-received “Tori and Lokita”? Even though every jury during the festival is different, politics are always at play when handing out prizes. Although the 85-minute feature is well-liked, it would be unprecedented for them to award the Belgian auteurs a third time, in lieu of awarding newer talent that is also deserving.

One of the buzziest titles out of the south of France was “Holy Spider” from Ali Abbasi, who won the Un Certain Regard Award for “Border” at the 2018 festival. “Border” was nominated for best makeup and hairstyling at the Academy Awards after failing to make the international shortlist for Sweden.

The film is based on the true story of Saeed Hanaei (played by Mehdi Bajestani), a serial killer who targets sex workers in Iran. With all the love for the film around Cannes, it seems destined to win something, and if it falls short of the Palme, then Bejestani is a likely recipient for best actor or even his co-star Zar Amir Ebrahimi for best actress.

“Decision to Leave” - Credit: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
“Decision to Leave” - Credit: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Park Chan-wook’s “Decision to Leave” is among the best reviewed films that played in competition, currently sitting at 89 on Metacritic and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. While the film doesn’t stand among his best features, including “Oldboy” (2004) and “The Handmaiden” (2016), his past love received at Cannes (such as winning best director) could have him finally walk away with the top prize.

The acting races will be interesting to watch. For the best actress prize, only two Cannes winners have received an Oscar nom in the last 20 years, coincidentally both tying with other recipients — Penélope Cruz for “Volver” (2006, which she shared with her other co-stars) and Rooney Mara for “Carol” (2015, and tied with Emmanuelle Bercot).

As the toilet manager Abigail, Dolly De Leon owns the final third of Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness,” which was picked up by Neon. This could be an incredible kickoff for her awards chances and will likely help her with a supporting actress run.

Oscar attention for Cannes winners seems to favor best actors rather than actresses. In the last 12 years, four Cannes leading men winners have gone on to Academy nominations — Javier Bardem (“Biutiful”), eventual Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”) and Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”). Despite last year’s surprise win for Caleb Landry Jones (“Nitram”), who didn’t going anywhere near the Oscars, the prize still matters. I’m keeping a close eye on Viggo Mortensen’s turn in “Crimes of the Future” that could sneak in for the prize, delivering an exciting turn in a very divisive film.

The track record for Palme d’Or winners going onto Oscar success has varied over the years. Over the past two decades, Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” (2002), Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” (2011), Michael Haneke’s “Amour” (2012) and Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” (2019) have received best picture nominations. However, “Parasite” is one of only two Cannes winners that have matched with Oscar, with the other being “Marty” (1955).

Some of the buzziest titles premiered out of competition, such as “Elvis” with Austin Butler, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” with Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton and “Top Gun: Maverick” with Tom Cruise. None of those films are eligible for awards, although Cruise received a surprise honorary Palme d’Or when the film screened.

The official competition jury members are: Vincent Lindon (French actor and Jury President), Asghar Farhadi (Iranian director, screenwriter and producer), Rebecca Hall (English-American actress, producer, director and screenwriter), Ladj Ly (French director, screenwriter, actor and producer), Jeff Nichols (American director and screenwriter), Deepika Padukone (Indian actress), Noomi Rapace (Swedish actress), Joachim Trier (Norwegian director and screenwriter) and Jasmine Trinca (Italian actress and director).

Some of the predictions that will be announced on Saturday are down below:

Official Cannes Awards Predictions

Holy Spider - Credit: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
Holy Spider - Credit: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Main competition predictions

Palme d’Or: “Holy Spider” (Ali Abbasi)
Alternates: “Tori and Lokita” (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) and “Decision to Leave” (Park Chan-wook)

Grand Prix: “Tori and Lokita” (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne)
Alternates: “Decision to Leave” (Park Chan-wook) and “Broker” (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

Best Director: Park Chan-wook (“Decision to Leave”)
Alternates: Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”) and Cristian Mungiu (“RMN”)

Best Actress: Dolly De Leon (“Triangle of Sadness”)
Alternates: Léa Seydoux (“Crimes of the Future”) and Tang Wei (“Decision to Leave”)

Best Actor: Viggo Mortensen (“Crimes of the Future”)
Alternates: Mehdi Bajestani (“Holy Spider”) and Song Kang-ho (“Broker”)

Best Screenplay: Cristian Mungiu (“RMN”)
Alternates: James Gray (“Armageddon Time”) and Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

Jury Prize: “Close” (Lukas Dhont)
Alternates: “The Eight Mountains” (Charlotte Vandermeersch, Felix van Groeningen) and “Showing Up” (Kelly Reichardt)

Un Certain Regard predictions:

Un Certain Regard Award: “The Stranger” (Thomas M. Wright)
Alternate: “The Silent Twins” (Agnieszka Smoczyńska)

Un Certain Regard Jury Prize: “Corsage” (Marie Kreutzer)
Alternate: “Joyland” (Saim Sadiq)

Un Certain Regard Ensemble Prize: “Father & Soldier” (Mathieu Vadepied)
Alternate: “The Silent Twins” (Agnieszka Smoczyńska)

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