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winter sleep poster

The Cannes Film Festival wrapped up on Saturday with the announcement of this years Palme d’Or winner. The Turkish film WINTER SLEEP took home the festivals highest honor. The 3 hour and 16 minute film was directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Summary of plot from IMDB:

Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce. In winter as the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities.

This years jury included Sofia Coppola, Willem Dafoe and Nicolas Winding Refn chose the winners from this years selection of 18 films.

Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman announced the winner of the Palme d’Or.


It’s doubtful that WINTER SLEEP will be a movie that Americans run out to see. Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter writes a mostly positive review, but also notes:

Here, things are different. The 3½ hour running time takes no prisoners even among art house audiences and demands a commitment to attentive viewing that, despite the film’s sometimes terrible longeurs, pays off in the end. But the challengingly long dialogue scenes, shot in brazenly elementary shot-countershot style, will further challenge audiences who lack excellent subtitle-reading skills.

Past Palme d’Or winners rarely make it to the Oscar race. Mostly because the Oscar world and the Cannes world look at films completely differently. Hollywood is about big stars and the almighty dollar. The “real” cinema world rewards the art. Although many would disagree, the Oscars are a part of Pop Culture. Something Cannes juries could care less about. Only 2 movies that have won the Palme d’Or went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Billy Wilder’s 1945 LOST WEEKEND and MARTY starring Ernest Borgnine in 1955. Plenty of Cannes winners have gone on to get Oscar nominations, including TAXI DRIVER, ALL THAT JAZZ, THE PIANO, PULP FICTION and M*A*S*H. Last years winner BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR turned out to not be eligible for an Oscar because of it’s late release. In 2012 Palme d’or winner AMOUR was nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture. The year before, THE TREE OF LIFE was also a Best Picture nominee.

While WINTER SLEEP may not go to the Oscars, other festival winners like FOXCATCHER, MAPS OF THE STARS and MR. TURNER just might.

List of Cannes Film Festival winners:

Palme d’or
Winter sleep, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Best Director
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher

Grand Prix
Les Merveilles (Le Meraviglie) directed by Alice Rohrwacher

Jury Prize
Xavier Dolan for Mommy
Jean-Luc Godard for Goodbye to Language

Best Actress
Julianne Moore for Maps to the Stars

Best Actor
Timothy Spall for Mr Turner

Prix du scénario
Andrei Zviaguintsev et Oleg Negin for Leviathan

Camera d’or
Party Girl from Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger, Samuel Theis

Official Cannes 2014 Poster

The lineup for this years Cannes Film Festival was announced on Thursday. The Festival runs from May 14th to the 25th. 18 films will compete for the  Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award. Last years winner, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR ended up not qualifying for an Oscar. Cannes is not as influential as Toronto or Telluride in the Oscar race, but it does begin the conversation. After Cannes screenings people will jump on Twitter to announce that they have just seen this years best picture winner. That is usually the kiss of death for a movie this early in the year.

Grace of Monaco

Adieu au langage
The Captive
Clouds of Sils Maria
The Homesman
Jimmy’s Hall
La Meraviglie
Maps to the Stars
Mr. Turner
Saint Laurent
The Search
Still the Water
Two Days, One Night
Wild Tales
Winter Sleep

Coming Home
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Les Gens du Monde

Amour fou
Bird People
The Blue Room
Charlie’s Country
Eleanor Rigby
Fantasia” (Wang Chao)
Harcheck mi headro
Hermosa juventud
Lost Rive
Party Gir
The Salt of the Earth
Snow in Paradise

The Rove
The Salvation
The Targe

The Bridges of Sarajevo
Eau argentee
Red Army
Caricaturistes – Fantassins de la democratie

NEW YORK (AP) — The foreign language Oscar competition this year will be wider than it ever has been before.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday that a record 73 countries, plus Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Palestinian territories, have submitted their entries to the Academy Awards.

The acclaimed “Wadjda” from Saudi Arabia, about an 11-year-old girl’s quest to obtain a bicycle, is the country’s first submission. “All God’s Children” is also the first from Moldova. Montenegro, previously a part of Yugoslavia, submitted a film for the first time as an independent country: “Ace of Spades.”

Entries are restricted to one per country and some nations’ choices were at odds with the film community.

China opted to submit the patriotic drama “Back to 1942” rather than Jia Zhang-ke’s festival favorite “A Touch of Sin.” The film, which depicts inequality in contemporary China, won best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Two other well-received films, Japan’s “Like Father, Like Son” and India’s “The Lunchbox,” weren’t chosen by their respective home countries. Japan instead opted for “The Great Passage,” while India chose “The Good Road.”

Last year, Michael Haneke’s French-language “Amour,” an entry from Austria, won best foreign-language film. Haneke’s drama was the overwhelming front runner, but this year’s competition is considered wide open. Notables include Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Hunt” (Denmark), Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” (Iran), Amat Escalante’s “Heli” (Mexico) and Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty” (Italy).

The entries will be whittled down to a shortlist in January before the Oscars on March 2.

The foreign language category voting process has often been criticized, particularly for its practice of allowing the initial choices to be made by national selection committees. In an effort to smooth out the final selection, all academy members will for the first time be allowed to vote on the foreign language film category.

Previously, voting was limited to members who viewed all five nominees in a theater. DVD screeners of the nominees will be sent to members this year.


iN 1972 Jerry Lewis directed and starred in a movie THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED.  It has become the most famous movie never seen.  It tells the story of a German circus clown who was arrested by the Nazis and ordered to lead children into the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Rumor has it that Lewis was high on prescription drugs during production. The movie was never released. At this year’s Cannes Film Festival Lewis was asked about the filmed and responded, It was all bad, and it was bad because I lost the magic, You will never see it. No one will ever see it, because I am embarrassed at the poor work. 

There had been some early test screenings and people were horrified.  This behinds the scenes clip that was leaked yesterday might be the only clip we ever see, but I hope it’s not.


The Cannes Film Festival favors more of the international crowd than the US, but every year there are a few movies that leak out and make a run for an Oscar in America.  If you haven’t yet discovered foreign films, please give them a chance. You really do forget the subtitles after a few minutes. You could be missing out on some great films. Last year AMOUR came out of Cannes and went on to win a nomination for Best Picture and took home the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Palme d’Or (Best Picture at Cannes) this year went to BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR.  A 3 hour French film about a young lesbian couple’s coming of age story. Except for the graphic 10 minute lesbian sex scene, most Americans won’t be interested. It may compete for Best Foreign Language film, but I would even be surprised by that. A movie that played at Cannes that has a great chance at a foreign language nomination is THE PAST (Le Passe).  This is Director Asghar Farhadi first film since A SEPARATION.   It is about an Iranian man who deserts his French wife and two children to return to his homeland. Meanwhile, his wife starts up a new relationship, a reality her husband confronts upon his wife’s request for a divorce.  The wife is played by Bérénice Bejo (THE ARTIST) who also when Best Actress at Cannes.  The reviews for THE PAST were strong after a showing in Cannes.  If it is anywhere near as good as A SEPARATION, Americans will bite.

It has become a Cannes tradition. The Weinstein Company previews their Fall releases and of course what Harvey deems Oscar worthy. Two years a ago he announced NINE and MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Last year the Weinsteins created a frenzy by showing 10 minutes of DJANGO UNCHAINED.. He also showed sneaks of Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER and David O. Russell’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (ugh).

This years announcements have all of the makings of an Oscar nomination:


Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco

Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly. Kelly’s crisis of marriage and identity, during a political dispute between Monaco’s Prince Rainier III and France’s Charles De Gaulle, and a looming French invasion of Monaco in the early 1960s. A five minute teaser was shown and the reviews were mixed. Movie Critic Pete Howell says,

Kidman does a convincing Kelly, but she doesn’t exactly disappear into the role. It seems she’s striving for a convincing evocation of Kelly rather than a mirror image, much as Michelle Williams did for Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.”

This will all be about Kidman’s performance much like MY WEEK WITH MARILYN or THE IRON LADY. Both not particualy great movies, but the the performances make the film.


Directed by David Lowery and Rooney Mara as Ruth Guthrie. The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.

It was one of the best films to come from Sundance this year and received the   U.S. Dramatic Cinematography Award. This might be more of an Indie Spirit Awards movie, but it is still on the Oscar radar.


Written and Directed by Ryan Coogler.  The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008. 

Originally titled FRUITVALE, it got a lot of attention at Sundance. I won the top audience award as well as some jury prizes.  and is shaping up to be this years PRECIOUS or BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. It is a small movie, but Weinstein the Oscar whisperer believes that it can win him some more awards.

If you are really bored and want to watch the 2 minute standing ovation it got at Cannes, here it is. (How did this camera get into the screening?)

You can read about the tragedy that inspired FUITVALE STATION HERE: https://www.ropeofsilicon.com/fruitvale-station-true-story-video/


Directed by John Wells. With Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Abigail Breslin and Ewan McGregor. A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

People seem to be divided on how this movie will play. Early reviews have been mixed, but Streep could get her 18th Academy Award nomination.


Directed by Morgan Neville. This documentary that profiles backup singers who live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea these singers are or what lives they lead, until now. Look for TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM on the list of Best Documentary features.


downloadDirected by Justin Chadwick and 10 years in the making. 

A chronicle of Nelson Mandela’s life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

It has tested well so far in the US.

Some who have seen the trailer are concerned that it looks like a hip-hop action flick, not awards playing drama.



Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn starring Ryan Gosling. Their first movie since DRIVE.

Set in Bangkok. Gosling plays a Yank who runs a boxing club as a front for the family narcotics business. His scary, vengeful mom is Kristin Scott Thomas, who pushes him to hunt down his brother’s killer.

A 3 minute was played for the Cannes crowd and was the only clip that garnered applause.  Here is the clip that they were shown:

Not all of these will win awards, but with Weinsteins record, many will.