The Awards Trail: Sailing To The Start Line In Cannes

Heading into the Cannes Film Festival, once again we shall begin to predict, debate and ponder the films, which eight months from now could be announced as nominees for the 88th Academy Awards.

Amongst this year’s selections screening in Cannes there are a handful of films that are already highly anticipated and have major awards expectations. The most anticipated being Woody Allen’s annual film the ‘Irrational Man’, which centers around a philosophy professor in the grip of an existential crisis as he begins an affair with a student. While Woody’s films have become distant from the awards season in recent years since the sweeper ‘Midnight In Paris’, ‘Irrational Man’ appears to have resurrected Allen’s usual path to the Oscars — through the Cannes Film Festival.

While the Cannes Film Festival is a proverbial breeding ground for contenders, there are many contenders not at the festival currently making themselves known early. The most notable this week is perhaps Warner Brothers’ ‘Pan’, while the film was originally slated as a summer movie with both prominent commercial and awards actors, including Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara and Cara Delevingne. ‘Pan’, with its release now pushed to October 9th, could garner major awards attention towards the end of the year — even without an Oscar campaign. Warner Bros. Distribution Exec Dan Fellman said the reason for the delayed release was they “wanted to give ‘Pan’ the space to extend its theatrical run, so taking it out of the cluttered summer season made the most sense.” However, while far from Best Picture the film could emerge as a strong contender in the technical categories including visual effects, costume design and production design.

Other contenders which we likely will not be hearing much about until the autumn and winter seasons are mostly from our awards season regulars including Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight, Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea, Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, and many others. With all theses directors releasing a film this year it appears there is very little breathing room for an independent or breakthrough to grab a director nomination this time around.

Back to the Cannes Selections, the only two films in competition directed by US directors, both are serious contenders for the Oscars and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, which was previously in 2014 awarded to ‘Winter Sleep’. The first beginning Gus Van Sant’s ‘The Sea of Trees’, the film starring Matthew McConaughey and Inception’s Ken Watanabe and the second Todd Haynes’s period lesbian love film ‘Carol’, which stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Another serious competitor for the Palme d’Or is Justin Kurzel with his Shakespeare adaptation of ‘Macbeth’ with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

While most of us think of Cannes as the beginning of the awards trail, in recent years a Sundance title has almost always slipped through and emerged as a prominent contender. This year’s most likely contenders, which have debuted at the Sundance Film Festival are Jesse Andrews’ ‘Me and Earl and the Dying’ and ‘Brooklyn’ starring Saoirse Ronan.

Finally, the first predictions…


While the season is still young, I have compiled my predictions, which I believe currently stand as the strongest contenders in some of the most notable categories at this early stage.

The Hateful Eight
Crimson Peak
Irrational Man
Bridge of Spies
Knight of Cups
The Sea of Trees
In the Heart of the Sea
Me and Earl and the Dying

Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
Terrence Malick – Knight of Cups
Ron Howard – In the Heart of the Sea
Gus Van Sant – The Sea of Trees
Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies

Christian Bale – Knight of Cups
Michael Fassbender – Macbeth
Matthew McConaughey – The Sea of Trees
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Jake Gyllenhaal – Demolition

Carey Mulligan – Suffragette
Mia Wasikowska – Crimson Peak
Meryl Streep – Ricky and the Flash
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

James Parks – The Hateful Eight
Ben Whishaw – Suffragette
Bradley Cooper – Joy
Ken Watanabe – Sea of Trees
Seth Rogen – Steve Jobs

Naomi Watts – The Sea of Trees
Marion Cotillard – Macbeth
Cate Blanchett – Knight of Cups
Melissa Leo – Snowden
Jessica Chastain – Crimson Peak

Irrational Man – Woody Allen
Abi Morgan – Suffragette
The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino
Terrence Malick – Knight of Cups
Me and Earl and the Dying – Jesse Andrews

Predictions coming next month…

Tastic Film Magazine will be posting monthly predictions as we continue to follow the awards trail until the Academy Awards on February 28, 2016; stopping at all the years major film festivals. Check back next month on for our predictions in the aftermath of the Cannes Film Festival.

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of Tastic Film Magazine James Rush.

Posted in Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Festivals, The Awards Trail