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May 27, 2008

Cannes do


We prefer those years at Cannes where critics hiss and boo and perhaps throw overripe fruit at movies (see: "Da Vinci Code" minus the food), but the just-ended French festival had no such histrionics.

That is, if you don't count the meeting between Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and the press, which apparently didn't go well, according to an NPR report over the weekend that had a mute Kaufman refusing to answer, "But what does it mean?" kind of questions from reporters about his directing debut, "Synechdoche, New York."

Less accessible, perhaps, even than his other movies? No boffo boxoffice likely for this one.

Though there was some buzz about Clint Eastwood's fifth trip to Cannes finally breaking him into the top prize stratosphere (it didn't), those assembled seemed to be universally supportive of the movie that did win the Palme d'Or. Our brother blogger Steve Zeitchik describes the junior-high-based biopic ""The Class" as "Stand & Deliver" or "Dangerous Minds" without the Hollywood formula, or "Half Nelson" without the drugs."

What does that mean for its U.S. distribution and Oscar potential? Read more here.

Eastwood didn't go home empty handed, having been given a specially-created award (luminous actress Catherine Deneuve got one, too) for doing work that jury president Sean Penn called "so rare and so important."

Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro (pictured) won for best actor in "Che," having provided what many critics said was the only watchable thing about Steven Soderbergh's marathon movie. (We were down with "Traffic," but this just seems like head-scratching self-indulgence from a filmmaker who should know better. Oh yeah, we forgot about "Bubble" for a minute).

More here about this year's truly international lineup of winners.



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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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