Friday 26 May 2023

Cannes 2023 - Awards predictions

What a spectacular, exciting and eventful edition this year has been at the Cannes Film Festival! Fully back to normal (even more than 2022 that saw a returning attendance but not quite at previous levels), with union leaders threatening to switch off the power and disrupt the festival, with the endless rain of the first week adding a certain level of stressful trepidation and some oversubscribed screenings like in the pre-COVID years, not to mention the very high level of the competition, this surely is a year to remember!

It is an impossible game to try to guess what a small jury might have liked and basing oneself on their own work never quite works but here are some predictions that are not backed up by much else than a hunch and the general chatter within the festival.

Jury Prize: La Chimera by Alice Rohrwacher

A regular in Cannes where her two previous films have won an award, the Italian director has surprised us yet again with this mad, unique and wonderful story about art dealers with its eclectic cast and artistic freedom. It is too unusual to seduce the jury in full but those who enjoyed it loved it hence I am predicting a jury prize.

Best Screenplay: Anatomy of a Fall - written by Justine Triet and Arthur Harari

I cannot see how this award could escape this insightful and fascinating exploration of an imploding relationship, a rich, layered screenplay that does not give the audience all the answers but keep them guessing.

Best Direction: Tran Anh Hung for The Pot-au-feu

I am only predicting this on the basis of The Zone of Interest winning a higher award but it is fair to say The Pot-au-feu surprised all of us who expected a stuffy period drama and Tran Anh Hung's painterly, sumptuous yet restrained direction is such a joy that it would be a richly deserved award.

Grand Prix: Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismaki

This award is traditionally reserved for a more challenging film especially if it there is a tie among the jury members. Yet this year I feel this is what the Finnish director might win. With a topic seemingly less serious than many films in competition, as beloved as it was by critics and audience members, a romantic comedy might seem not deserving of the top award.

Best Actor: Koji Yakusho in Perfect Days

The easiest award to predict, we all knew he was destined to win the minute we came out of the first screening, he has no real competition.

Best Actress: Sandra Hüller in Anatomy of a Fall

Unless the film were to win a higher award which would prevent an acting award, no one else has made more of an impact that Sandra Hüller this year and it is yet again a very easy award to predict.

Palme d'Or: The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer

A devastating, fascinating film by a much beloved yet rare British director, The Zone of Interest made such an impact in Cannes and with a serious subject that jury members are always sensible too, that remains my prediction even if its arthouse vibes might not have worked for all the jury members.

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