Over the last 36 hours I’ve sufficiently conveyed my view that Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Leviathan is the only grand-slammer of the now-all-but-concluded Cannes Film Festival. It would be extremely perverse for the Jane Campion-led jury to give the Palme d’Or to anything else. Yes, I failed to see Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s 196-minute Winter Sleep and Abderrahmane Sissako‘s Timbuktu so my judgment lacks the necessary perspective, but neither was greeted with the across-the-board, close-to-ecstatic praise that the Russian melodrama has attracted. I just knew during Thursday night’s screening at the Salle Debussy that Leviathan all but had it in the bag. Everyone sensed this (including, trust me, the Movie Godz who look to the Cannes awards to provide inspiration and guidance). If it doesn’t win this evening I’ll…I don’t know what I’ll do. Perhaps I’ll content myself with the usual forehead-smacking and rancid after-vibes
And you never know. The jury might give the prize (I can’t believe I’m actually writing this) to Xavier Dolan‘s Mommy. The first 75 minutes of this film, as noted, are way, way too manic and abrasive with a dysfunctional dead-end vibe that is truly suffocating, but you know that juror Nicholas Winding Refn, unable to even begin to suggest that Ryan Gosling‘s all-but-dismissed Lost River (which I found enjoyably audacious) might be a worthy recipient, has stood up for the Dolan. A lot of Cannes journos have gone apeshit for it.
Nobody knows anything, of course. I know that some predictions are over the falls in a barrel. One guy believes that Mike Leigh‘s Mr. Turner, which many respected but no one was truly over-the-moon about, will take the Palme d’Or. No. Fucking. Way. The Independent‘s Kaleem Aftab has actually written that he sees the competition for the Grand Prix jury prize (essentially the second-place award) as being between Mommy and Naomi Kawase‘s Still the Water, which almost everyone instantly dismissed. He also said that Leviathan is an “outside candidate” for the award. Really, he did.
I’m predicting (a) Leviathan for the Palme d’Or, (b) Mommy or Winter’s Sleep for the Grand Prix Jury prize, (c) Foxcatcher‘s Bennett Miller for Best Director (although this could go to Dolan or Sissako), (d) Leviathan or Mommy for Best Screenplay, (e) Mr. Turner‘s Timothy Spall for Best Actor, in part for expertly burying his dialogue with a deep-in-the-throat guttural grumble that I couldn’t make heads or tails of half the time, and (f) Two Days, One Night‘s Marion Cotillard for Best Actress as her respectable but unexceptional portrayal of a depressed, Xanax-popping wife and mother going door-to-door and asking several co-workers to vote against laying her off has been met with unmitigated praise…go figure.