CANNES, France — After two weeks, 20 films and parade after parade down the red carpet, the Cannes Film Festival has not produced a clear-cut frontrunner for the Palme d’Or.
The prestigious award, given to the best film in competition, will be handed out Sunday night, decided upon by a jury headed by Steven Spielberg. And while this year’s festival has boasted a cinematic feast, no single film is believed to have clearly set itself apart from the pack.
At least half a dozen films seem to have a realistic chance of winning Cannes’ top prize, including the Coen brothers’ 1960s folk tale “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Paolo Sorrentino’s rollicking Roman party “The Great Beauty,” Asghar Farhadi’s domestic drama “The Past,” James Gray’s 1920s Ellis Island melodrama “The Immigrant” and Abdellatif Kechiche’s lesbian coming- of-age tale “Blue is the Warmest Color.”
Consensus is always hard to come by in Cannes, but it does happen. Last year, Michael Haneke’s “Amour” was the far-and-away favorite, and went on to win best foreign language film at the Oscars and earn the rare best picture nomination for a non-English film.
In 2011, Terrence Malick’s cosmic rumination “The Tree of Life” too was obvious Palme material. But the year before, Cannes was fairly shocked when Tim Burton’s jury picked the existential Thai film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.”
Palme d’Or oddsmaker Neil Young currently has Farhadi in the lead with 5-to-2 odds to win. The Iranian director, whose film is in French, was honored as the best foreign language film two years ago at the Academy Awards for another domestic drama, “A Separation.” Having grown into an internationally renowned filmmaker, Farhadi could be in position for the Palme.
But some found his film, with its succession of reveals of past misdeeds, more a feat of mystery novel-like plotting than revealing drama. Certainly, its star, Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”), as a single-mother balancing an ex-husband and a new fiancé, is a possible best actress winner.
So, too, is the star of “Blue is the Warmest Color,” Adele Exarchopoulos. The 19-year-old actress was one of the breakout stars of the festival in the three-hour French film.