What’s In The Running To Win The Palme d’Or & Other Cannes Awards This Weekend?

The Cannes Film Festival will crown its Competition winners tomorrow night and the consensus seems to be building around a few titles.

All films have now been seen and it’s fair to say that things really heated up in the back nine. The Competition section took a few days to catch fire sparking rumor that this was unlikely to be a vintage crop of movies but Emilia Perez‘s bow last Saturday finally kicked the contest into another gear and since then multiple films have fared well among critics. There have been some notable highs on trade jury grids. The Palme d’Or winner is often not the movie with the highest final score on such lists but the impressively high numbers reveal a range of critically appreciated movies this edition.

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One of the trends to emerge from this year’s lineup is the foregrounded position of women within the most buzzed-about films. Emilia Perez, The Substance, Anora, All We Imagine As Light, Caught By The Tides, The Girl With The Needle and The Seed Of The Sacred Fig are among the best-reviewed of this year’s lineup and all firmly put women at the heart of their stories. In a lineup famous for its dearth of women filmmakers, this is at least a positive outcome, and means the best actress category is a humdinger this year.

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Predicting Cannes winners is tricky. The awards are not as signposted as the Oscars. There are often curveballs or less noisy films awarded across the main prizes.

Below, we run down some of the films and performances that have popped this past 10 days, helping their chances tomorrow night.

The Girl With The Needle

‘The Girl with the Needle’
‘The Girl with the Needle’

Magnus Von Horn’s black and white feature charts one of Denmark’s most notorious murder cases. We called it a “beguiling” and “poetic fairytale” while the performances of actresses Vic Carmen Sonne and Trine Dyrholm came in for widespread praise.

Caught By The Tides

Caught by the TIdes movie
‘Caught By the Tides’

Jia Zhangke has had six films in Competition before, winning the Best Screenplay prize back in 2013 for A Touch Of Sin. His latest was described by Time Out as “enthralling and enigmatic”: “This dreamy, arresting, dialogue-light film is a poetic, musical and reflective portrait of one woman’s journey to find an old lover – but equally importantly to find herself – set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing nation.”

Emilia Perez

Emilia Pérez
Selena Gomez in ‘Emilia Pérez’

Previous Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard returned with a crime musical that jolted the festival into life. The Spanish-language film about a transgender cartel boss stars Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldana, Edgar Ramirez and a breakout performance from Karla Sofia Gascon. Wouldn’t it be ironic if a Netflix acquisition won the Palme d’Or?



Neon has had the last four Palme d’Or winners. Half way through this year’s festival a fifth looked unlikely. Then Anora hit the Croisette and it was seemingly love at first sight. “Sean Baker’s panic comedy deserves to win every prize,” trumpeted The Telegraph about the sex-worker comedy featuring a breakout turn by U.S. actress Mikey Madison.

The Substance

The Substance
The Substance

Demi Moore has garnered strong notices for her turn as a fading celebrity who decides to use a black market drug, a cell-replicating substance that temporarily creates a younger, better version of herself. Could Coralie Fargeat’s body horror even propel Moore to a first Oscar nomination?

Grand Tour

Experimental, formalistic, idiosyncratic and enigmatic. Miguel Gomes’ time-traveling story about a British civil servant trying to outrun his persistent fiancée has an outside chance at awards tomorrow night. Sight and Sound called the film a “seductive, globetrotting ode to cinema, which elegantly bridges 100 years of film history”.

All We Imagine As Light

Indian films in Cannes
‘All We Imagine As Light’

India’s first Palme d’Or contender in 30 years is right up there with Anora and The Seed Of The Sacred Fig as the best-reviewed films in this year’s lineup. The BBC called the film “lyrical”, “delicate” and likely to “win hearts everywhere”. Kani Kusruti and Divya Prabha star as a pair of nurses who’ve settled in India’s largest city, Mumbai. The film seems a strong bet to win something on the night.

The Seed Of The Sacred Fig

'The Seed of the Sacred Fig' review Cannes
‘The Seed of the Sacred Fig’

The narrative is strong both on and off the screen when it comes to Mohammad Rasoulof’s latest. The Iranian filmmaker arrived in Cannes after a daring escape from his homeland and his film received a rapturous 15-minute applause tonight, one of the longest in recent years. The political family drama is a sustained condemnation of Iran’s murderous ruling regime. Being acquired by Neon mid-festival only heightened its chances. A strong Palme d’Or chance, a Best Director hopeful, and an early contender for the Academy’s Best International Film category. This would be my bet for the big prize tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, while their movies are seemingly considered less likely to win the main prize, there wouldn’t be great surprise if Ben Whishaw or Sebastian Stan took home the best actor prizes for Limonov or The Apprentice, respectively. Both performances have been widely praised.

The Apprentice movie with Jeremy Strong and Sebastian Stan
(L-R) Jeremy Strong and Sebastian Stan in ‘The Apprentice’

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