By this time last year, we already knew that Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris” would be opening the Cannes Film Festival, but as March looms closer, there still has been no word yet from organizers which film will kick off the festivities. Yet, that hasn’t stopped conjecture and suppostion as Cineuropa recently penned a speculatory long list of films they they guessing could be heading to Cannes (which includes iffy bets like Terrence Malick's next movie, Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" and more). These lists are fun and all, they get the cinephiles' anticipation juices going (see one example here), but the reality of the matter is there is a element of wish fulfillment to all of them and less than half the films generally posted in these pieces actually end up appearing at the Croisette. Still, using that piece as a jumping off point, we decided to dig a bit deeper to sort out which movies are near certain locks, which are possibilities and those that aren’t going to make it all.

Cannes is still a couple of months away so anything can happen, and much can change so this is our more level-headed, buyer-beware cautious entry into the world of speculation that tends to become engulfed in a lot of wishful thinking. All signs point to another strong festival, with a top tier list of filmmakers likely to make the journey. A quick note: we kept this list to films that will be making their premieres, and not included works making European debuts like the Sundance hit "Room 237" (already tipped by Deadline for Cannes) or buzzworthy sensation "Beasts Of The Southern Wild" which we expect to play there as well.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16-27. Here’s who you might be seeing:

Strong Contenders

Cristian Mungiu

Beyond The Hills” (dir. Cristian Mungiu)
Cast: Unknown
While there was word that the helmer behind the Palme d’Or-winning “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” was working on the something new, it came as somewhat of a surprise last week when Sundance Selects announced they had snatched up the U.S. rights to the film. Moreover, Deadline revealed that the film is expected to turn up as part of the official selection at Cannes in May. “Beyond The Hills” should be slightly less harrowing than his abortion drama with the Romanian set story, following a young woman who returns to her home country after living in Germany and reunites with a friend she has known for years since their childhood in the same orphanage. She has found a family in the nuns and priests of a rural convent, and refuses to return with her to Germany. After he took home a total of three prizes on the Croisette with his last film, Mungiu will be a force to be reckoned with.

Michael Haneke

Love” (dir. Michael Haneke)
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Rive
With production on this film starting a year ago, and considering every single of one Michael Haneke's films in the past fifteen years has premiered at Cannes (the sole exception being his American remake of “Funny Games”) this is as close to a lock as it gets. You can practically mark this one down for an In Competition slot.

On The Road

On The Road” (dir. Walter Salles)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Tom Sturridge, Sam Riley, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Terrence Howard
With production on the film beginning way back in August 2010, and additional photography happening last spring, it has been a slow but steady path for this highly anticipated, years in development adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel. The director gave fans good news in January when he revealed that editing and mixing on the film was finally finished. And with a May 23rd release already set for France, the film’s appearance at Cannes feels like a fait accompli from our vantage point.

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom” (dir. Wes Anderson)
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel
Festivals in Toronto, London, Venice, New York, Berlin, Los Angeles and Telluride have already hosted Wes Anderson’s films and this year it looks like the director will finally walk the red carpet on the Croisette. With the film expected to open in the U.S. on May 25th -- but more importantly -- hitting theaters in France on May 16th, the same day as the kickoff of Cannes, the stars are aligned. Some folks have been suggesting it will grab the non-competition opening slot, and that’s a pretty good guess we think.