Boil down Steven Zeitchik‘s 5.28 L.A. Times piece about the impact that the 2012 Cannes Film Festival may have on the Oscar race, and you’re left with one solid: Michael Haneke‘s Amour will be a major contender for Best Foreign Language Film. (Unless the foreign language committee finds it too dispiriting.)

I would like to think that Leos Carax‘s Holy Motors would also figure strongly in that competition. (Unless the rank-and-file dismiss it as too hallucinatory.) That’s what everyone always says when a unmistakably fine film is about to open in the U.S. — i.e., how will the older slowpokes respond?

Yes, Garrett Hedlund has stepped up and out of the box with his Dean Moriarty/Neal Casady turn in Walter SallesOn The Road — it’s a bracing, live-wire performance — but it’s destined for Spirit Awards attention, at most. I haven’t seen Mud (many thanks, WeAreFilmNation) so I obviously can’t get into Matthew McConaughey‘s admired performance in the titular role. What about Marion Cotillard‘s exacting but subtle work in Rust and Bone?