So who is going to get a really nice vacation—and possible Oscar buzz? "Croisette regulars," in the words of The Hollywood Reporter, the Coen Brothers will be back in the Competition lineup (a comfortable spot for them) with their folk music film, Inside Llewyn Davis. Alexander Payne's Nebraska, also the subject of early Oscar buzz, will also be competing. And Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn has his Only God Forgives, in which he maims Ryan Gosling's pretty pretty face, and makes Kristin Scott Thomas a blonde. Also in the Competition lineup is Steven Soderbergh's HBO Liberace biopic, and Roman Polanski's Venus in Fur, an adaptation of the eponymous play. Zulu, a thriller starring Orlando Bloom, is closing the festival.
In the parallel Un Certain Regard section, Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, the true-life inspired story of the Los Angeles teens who robbed the famous starring Emma Watson, will open. Her film is joined by (and newly renamed) Fruitvale Station, which is being positioned as the next Beasts of the Southern Wild, the Sundance hit that makes its way to the Oscar race. James Franco has also weaseled his way into this section of the festival with his adaptation of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. Oh, brother. (Or should we say, mother?) The films in Un Certain Regard are not eligible for the top prize, the Palme d’Or.
What does it all mean? Last year Cannes Competition brought us a big, if unexpected, player in the Oscar race—Michael Haneke's Amour, while the year before The Artist began its march to the big trophy on the Croisette with a standing ovation.