Awards Watch With Math Teacher Movies – July 26th, 2021: Cannes Film Festival Reactions

Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.

Last week, the Cannes Film Festival wrapped up and generated quite a bit of buzz between the awards and reactions to some of the movies that debuted there. Cannes has always piqued my interest because while it is not necessarily a predictor of Academy Awards, there are often some connections between them that are worth paying attention to. 

In 2019, Parasite won the Palme D’or (Cannes’s award for Best Picture) and then won Best Picture at the Oscars, a rare feat that has not happened since Marty and The Lost Weekend in the fifties. Notably, winners of the Palme D’or The Piano and Pulp Fiction were also major Oscar players, which means it can be somewhat of a barometer for the Oscars. 

Cannes’s award for Best Actor or Actress rarely translates into an Oscar win but sometimes predicts a nomination. Cannes has given the Best Actor award in recent years to Oscar winner Jean Dejardin for The Artist and Oscar nominees Javier Bardem for Biutiful, Bruce Dern for Nebraska, and Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory. There haven’t been quite as many overlaps for the Best Actress category: Cannes has awarded Oscar winner Holly Hunter for The Piano, and Oscar Nominees Rooney Mara in Carol and Brenda Blethyn in Secrets and Lies for those films. 

Interestingly, Cannes has given the Best Director to several Oscar Nominees, including Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War, Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher, Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Babel, and the Coen Brothers for Fargo. This shows that directors honored at Cannes, especially for international films, have a chance at showing up in the Best Director category.

This year, the Palme D’or went to Titane, a genre-bending French film. Titane will be campaigned by the studio Neon, but its Oscars prospects seem low compared to Parasite. Even though Parasite was an international film that was similarly genre-bending, it was much more popular with audiences than this film. Think back to 2019 when everyone and their mother was raving about Parasite. Titane just has not generated the same amount of word-of-mouth buzz. 

The prize for best director went to Leos Carax for Annette this year at Cannes. This film has been one of the more divisive movies to come out of Cannes and while such attention could mean awards buzz, divisive attention means it will most likely not make the cut at the Oscars.

Caleb Landry Jones won Best Actor for Nitram. This film hasn’t gotten popular yet and it has a difficult subject matter. However, I predict we will see Jones at the Oscars as he is no stranger to the Academy having been part of Oscar-nominated films such as Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri and Get Out. 

Renate Reinsve won Best Actress for The Worst Person in the World. Foreign films from film festivals often don’t often translate to Oscar results in the performance categories for Cannes, so it is unlikely that Reinsve will be nominated come Oscars season. 

Audience reactions at Cannes can be tricky to gauge because standing ovations are common at the festival and just as widely reported, so it is hard to tell what the stand out films are with every film getting such a reaction. The two films with the best reviews are the The French Dispatch and Stillwater. Stillwater has the hurdle of a summer release and having a divisive lead while The French Dispatch has a beloved director in Wes Anderson and quite a lot of hype has surrounded the film. 

Cannes is a fascinating festival in that the majority of the films will not be mentioned come Oscar season, but once in a while, a film slips through and blows away the Oscars and those outside of the cinephile community. And that’s what it’s all about. 

Follow Sean on Instagram at @MathTeacherMovies

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