Variety‘s Allison James has finally run a Cannes 2007 advance-buzz piece, and her big lead-graph prediction is that Wong Kar Wai‘s My Blueberry Nights will play the opening-night slot. That’s it? Everyone’s been saying that, and the Cineuropa guys predicted that one over two weeks ago.

If Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men doesn’t play at next month’s Cannes Film Festival, and thus deny Coen-heads the first peek at Javier Bardem’s performance as Chigurh, the ogre-ish hit man, a lot of people will be bitterly disappointed.

The official Cannes festival lineup will be released sometime tomorrow morning in Paris (i.e., Thursday), which will be an hour or two after midnight in Los Angeles tonight. If anyone in the loop wants to shoot me an early blast…

Hollywood Elsewhere is fully expecting to hear that the following English- language titles are in: Todd HaynesI’m Not There, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s There Will Be Blood, Joel and Ethan Coen‘s No Country for Old Men and Michael Winterbottom‘s A Mighty Heart (i.e., his Daniel Pearl movie). I’m also nurturing this out-of-nowhere notion that Alan Ball‘s Nothing Is Private will be shown. A lot of us would also like to see Michael Moore‘s Sicko and Woody Allen‘s Cassandra’s Dreams.

I’m giving fair warning right now there will be dismay and disappointment if most of the films in the previous graph aren’t announced. I want the Coen, Haynes and Anderson films to show up, at the very least.

Yesterday’s Cineuropa column says that U.S. films which have apparently secured a competition slot include Gus Van Sant‘s Paranoid Park (old news), David Fincher‘s Zodiac (possibly being rescued from the dreaded closing-night berth?) and James Gray‘s We Own the Night, which costars Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix.

James is reporting that Persepolis, a graphic novel-styled animated feature that was press-luncheoned last year by Sony Classics, is getting a berth of some kind, and that Gregg Araki’s Smiley Face may be chosen in the Director’s Fortnight section.

Other promising possibles, she’s suggesting, are Hector Babenco‘s El Pasado, Carlos ReygadasSilent Light (another early Cineuropa pick), Bela Tarr’s L’homme de Londres and Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

A friend claims that the Cineuropa speculators are to be regarded askance. They “emphatically stated that Coppola’s film [i.e., Youth Without Youth] was going, though that’s impossible,” he cautions.