Which Stars Came Out Ahead at Cannes? Who Should Have Stayed Home? From Pitt, Kidman & Mikkelsen to Hardy, Cotillard, Pattinson & Stewart

Festivals
by Anne Thompson
May 30, 2012 1:08 PM
11 Comments
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Robert Pattinson

Coming up is Hardy's return to working with Christopher Nolan (as villain Bane) in summer tentpole "The Dark Knight Rises." And down the road is the still-in-the-works "Mad Max" reboot. Hardy is also linked to a biker project and may play Al Capone in "Cicero."

Shia LaBeouf: Trying to transition to more mature roles, LaBeouf had come to Cannes before with "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." This time he held his own opposite Hardy, Gary Oldman and Mia Wasikowska in "Lawless," but the film--while a huge step up from "Transformers" territory-- didn't give him a real boost on the acting side. He's still a young charmer mooning over a girl and afraid to grow up. Next up: Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep" (alongside Redford, Julie Christie, Sam Elliot, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick and Terrence Howard).

Kristen Stewart in "On the Road" Comme au Cinema

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, with Cannes competition entries from Walter Salles ("On the Road") and David Cronenberg ("Cosmopolis") respectively, both proved their acting skills outside of the "Twilight" franchise. Yes they were top-draws on the red carpet, but both earned respectful if not rave reviews. Stewart was earthily sexy in "On the Road," in a way we have not seen her before, while Pattinson nabbed praise for playing a cold and unlikeable Wall Street master of the universe. Both came out ahead and earned needed gravitas by coming to Cannes starring in films by notable directors.

Garrett Hedlund waited for years for "On the Road" to get made in the hopes that this would be his star-making role. In the meantime he shot "Tron: Legacy" and "Country strong," but playing the juicy role of Dean Moriarty was supposed to be his breakout. As strong as Hedlund is in the film--he feels right in the role--the reviews weren't unanimous raves. And Sam Riley ("Control") as writer Sal Paradise has the thankless passive observer writer role. Both young actors raised their profiles in an admirably serious Cannes entry. But they still have miles to go before hitting their stride as movie stars.

Emmanuelle Riva and Jean Louis Trintignant of "Amour"

Jean Louis Trintgnant and Emmanuelle Riva: While they did not win best actor or actress for their moving roles in Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning "Amour," playing a loving couple at the end of their lives, the competition jury did cite their huge contribution to the film. Sony Pictures Classics knows well that senior Academy members will recall these iconic French stars with affection. Will the film be too close to the bone for Oscar voters? An Austrian submission and likely foreign nomination are achievable, but whether SPC can push for bigger major nominations with an intimate two-hander -- picture, director, actor and actress-- is the question. It depends on the competition, of course, and how well it does at the box office (they're opening December 19 at the height of Oscar season). Foreign films rarely make it to major categories. "The Artist" was French, but its silence was golden.

Rust & Bone's Audiard, Cotillard, Schoenaerts

Marion Cotillard: This world-class Oscar-winner delivers yet another award-worthy performance as a depressed whale trainer who loses her legs in a terrible accident in Jacques Audiard's follow-up to "A Prophet,""Rust and Bone." "Bullhead" star Matthias Schoenaerts is heartbreaking as an incommunicative, powerful muscle man who knows how to fight but has no handle on his emotions. The man and the woman help each other to survive and grow up emotionally.

This strong, powerful, disturbing film didn't play well across the board--failing to earn any Cannes prizes-- and will prove a commercial challenge for Sony Pictures Classics. Cotillard lost Best Actress to the young unknowns in Cristian Mungiu's "Beyond the Hills." Schoenaerts stars in the upcoming "Blood Ties" remake from Guillaume Canet. And Cotillard joins Hardy in "The Dark Knight Rises" (she also has James Gray's "Lowlife" upcoming).

Gael Garcia Bernal in "No"

Gael Garcia Bernal: This fine Mexican actor has shined in movies by Michel Gondry ("The Science of Sleep"), Walter Salles ("The Motorcycle Diaries"), Pedro Almodovar ("A Bad Education") and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Amores Perros"). In Pablo Larrain's "No" he dons a Chilean accent playing a brilliant ad executive who pushes through the 1988  "No" campaign to oust Chilean dictator Pinochet from power. London-educated Garcia Bernal is handsome and gifted and speaks fluent English; he could have an even better career than Antonio Banderas--but as he says in this interview, "it's not like I have to choose between amazing projects." He and his "Y Tu Mama Tambien" costar Diego Luna's Canana Films has already produced 19 films, including the terrifying "Miss Bala."

Chris O'Dowd and Tory Kittles at Cannes for "The Sapphires"

Quvenzane Wallis: One of the hits of Cannes was Benh Zeitlin's Sundance jury prize-winner "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which won the Camera d'Or. At Fox Searchlight's beach party for the film, young Quvenzane Wallis easily charmed the guests, and could be a longshot to score a Best Actress Oscar slot.

Chris O'Dowd: Yes this lanky Irishman is funny, as we already found out in "Bridesmaids" and "Friends with Kids." But in the Aussie musical comedy "The Sapphires," based on the stage play, we discover that he's leading man material. While Harvey Weinstein overhyped this last-minute pick-up in Cannes, comparing it to "The Artist," this rollicking musical biopic is quite satisfying. Not high art by any means, Wayne Blair's film brings depth and authenticity. As a hard-drinking manager who teams up with Aboriginal girl group The Sapphires, teaching them how to sing soul instead of country, and shepherding them on a tour of Vietnam, falling for prickly lead singer (Deb Mailman) in the process, O'Dowd is especially strong.

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11 Comments

  • Jean paul schimdth | June 6, 2012 3:31 AMReply

    Thank you for sharing this information with us.
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  • Mel | June 1, 2012 12:24 PMReply

    I'm a little confused at how different people who, on average, received the same level of enthusiasm in reviews are designated by you sometimes as successful and sometimes not.

  • Vanessa | May 31, 2012 5:31 AMReply

    Thank you for a fair assessment of Cannes and the young stars who played in movies shown there. Robert Pattinson sometimes got better reviews for his work than the movie itself.

  • Chad | May 30, 2012 10:45 PMReply

    In the novel, Matthew McConaughey's character is gay or its at least suggested that he is.

  • Meredith Brody | May 30, 2012 6:44 PMReply

    Very interesting piece. Useful, informative, savvy, and felt very "you-are-there."

    Amused to realize, for example, that I was more-or-less totally unaware of Kidman's two latest films, "Trespass" and "Just Go With It." But the photo labelled "Hemingway and Gellhorn" must have come from a magazine shoot!

  • Doug Raymard | May 30, 2012 3:12 PMReply

    Why is anyone quoting Richard Corliss of all people? I saw that review and it was patently personalized.

    To deny the obvious reality that Pattinson, Stewart and several American actors - while not winning at prizes at Cannes - still turned in great performances; is ridiculous.

  • Patrick Steel | June 1, 2012 5:11 PM

    Ditto.

  • George | May 31, 2012 12:38 AM

    I agree. Give credit where credit is due. Both Pattinson and Stewart turned in extremely strong performances. The article (I hesitate to call the diatribe a review) quoted below only serves to define the Corliss' self absorbtion and obvious bitterness.

  • JoeCornish | May 30, 2012 2:28 PMReply

    Kristen Stewart didn't come out on top. She's still playing the overly sexualized teenage girlfriend of the main actors. Can she do more? It remains to be seen. Pattinson, Efron, and LaBeouf too failed to deviate from their normal image. The future of Hollywood was not on display at this year's Cannes. To quote Richard Corliss, "Instead, this vapid, claustrophobic drama proves nothing but the emptiness of the Cannes Film Festival’s current tactic for reaping worldwide publicity: giving some of its choicest spots in the 12-day program to B-plus directors’ middling-to-awful films starring young actors with an avid teen following. On Wednesday, The Twilight Saga’s Kristen Stewart in On the Road. Yesterday, High School Musical graduate Zac Efron in The Paperboy. And today, Robert Pattinson, Stewart’s Twilight costar (and boyfriend), trading in vampire fangs for a plutocrat’s snarl."

    Read more: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/05/25/pretty-boys-gone-wild-part-2-robert-pattinson-in-cosmopolis/#ixzz1wNYg2oPU

  • Guy | May 30, 2012 2:13 PMReply

    Mostly, good post. And only slightly inaccurate.

    Pattinson did indeed earn rave reviews for his performance by the majority of critics. That's the key word. If he'd been viewed without the baggage of Twilight, and as an entirely fresh face, those reviews would have been even bolder. As it was, they were amazing.

    Also, Gandolfini's should have been on the list. His performance was outstanding.

  • Karen | May 30, 2012 1:33 PMReply

    CAA assembles indie projects? Haven't seen that happen yet...

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