There's always gold to be found at the Cannes Film Festival, beyond just the glistening sunshine kissing the shores of southern France as movie stars shepherd their latest prestige projects into existence. Over the last 75 years, the annual cinema event has evolved from a congregation of global tastes to full-fledged celebrity spectacle — one that typically aligns significant Oscars contenders for gilded runs through the awards race ahead.
This year, glowing reviews for stars like Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, and Toms of all sorts (looking at you, Cruise and Hanks) entered the hunt for potential glory as the Academy Awards race stretches its legs in Europe. Read on for five Cannes projects that could make headway at the Oscars as the year progresses.
Everett Collection; Anne Joyce/Focus Features; Mubi Potential Oscars contenders from Cannes 2022 include 'Crimes of the Future,' 'Armageddon Time,' 'Decision to Leave,' and more.
If actual Armageddon looks anything like Anne Hathaway on the Cannes carpet for the premiere of James Gray's new film, bring on the apocalypse. The Devil Wears Prada star and Les Misérables Oscar winner eyes a potential bid for another nomination in the celebrated filmmaker's latest, a coming-of-age tale set in 1980s Queens that also features awards heavy-hitters like two-time Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins and Succession's Emmy-winning Jeremy Strong. As Licorice Pizza and Belfast proved earlier this year, the Academy is still hungry for chronicles of formative youth, and reviews touting Gray's unique approach to a formulaic genre that's been done to death on the big screen could be enough to sustain interest in a time-tested genre.
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images 'Armageddon Time' cast poses with James Gray at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Crimes of the Future
Horror never plays well with the Academy (Midsommar, Hereditary, and The Babadook would like a word), but even more so when it's body horror. Just last year, the Cannes Palme d'Or-winning car-sex-serial-killer epic Titane didn't even make Oscar's International Feature shortlist prior to the official nominations. Pulling up in the spot vacated by Julia Ducournau's masterpiece is David Cronenberg's long-awaited big-screen return, Crimes of the Future, which the filmmaker even predicted would prompt walkouts from the Cannes crowd during its competition screening thanks to its gory content and peculiar narrative about organs, mutations, and general sci-fi oddities. Cronenberg couldn't have been further from the mark, though, as his work received a lengthy standing ovation from the crowd, with critics praising primary cast members Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, and Kristen Stewart. It's that kind of star power — with time-tested pedigree — that could push Crimes of the Future into the awards race, with Mortensen already shaping up to become a prestige contender in a performance that feels rife for critics groups to lift into the conversation at the end of the year.
NEON Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart in 'Crimes of the Future'
Yes, the Academy is diversifying its voting ranks, but nothing will stop Oscar from loving biopics — especially when said biopics are about straight white men whose stories unfold against the backdrop of a visually enticing historical period in American history. According to early reactions out of Cannes, director Baz Luhrmann's latest eye-popping spectacle checks all of those boxes as he vividly recounts the life of Elvis Presley, with Austin Butler leading the cast and Tom Hanks providing strong (heavily accented) support. After the Presley family's emotional reactions to the Cannes-debuting project stamped it with an enthusiastic endorsement from those who knew the central subject best, it's safe to assume Elvis will play to a wide range of American audiences at the box office, becoming a likely commercial hit that could walk the same path to the Oscars like Rocketman, Walk the Line, and Ray before it.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Decision to Leave
While glistening studio vehicles and their starry casts have stolen the mainstream spotlight from some of Cannes international offerings, the festival has regularly shepherded eventual Oscar players like Isabelle Huppert's French thriller Elle, Bong Joon-ho's Korean Best Picture winner Parasite, Pedro Almodóvar's Pain and Glory, and Ryusuke Hamaguchi's dramatic Japanese epic Drive My Car into the awards conversation in big ways. Park Chan-wook's Decision to Leave could follow the path forged by those films, as the Stoker and Handmaiden director's latest mystery earned near-universal praise as a standout entry among the celebrated helmer's filmography. In particular, there has been praise for the film's direction and story, meaning that, much like Hamaguchi, the writer-director could be looking at dual nods among the increasingly worldwide scope of the Academy's directing and writing branches.
Mubi Park Chan-wook's 'Decision to Leave'
Top Gun: Maverick
As the global market shifts to favor tentpoles more than ever before, the runway has cleared for high profile out-of-competition premieres to take flight at Cannes. Ahead of what's shaping up to be one of the biggest opening weekends of his career at the domestic box office, Tom Cruise landed sky-high reviews for his highly anticipated sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which Cannes critics praised as an emotional nod to nostalgia laced with the kind of spectacular action synonymous with big-budget Hollywood blockbusters. While the film's technical elements are likely to land on Academy radar, Lady Gaga's soundtrack tune "Hold My Hand" also looks to capitalize on the first film's winning legacy: Berlin's iconic 1986 hit "Take My Breath Away" from the first Top Gun film dominated the American charts and the Best Original Song category.
Paramount Pictures Tom Cruise in 'Top Gun: Maverick'