2016 Cannes Awards Predictions


The 2016 Cannes Film Festival wraps up this weekend, and it will be one of the more exciting awards announcements in recent memory for the absence of an obvious Palme d’Or favorite like Winter Sleep, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Amour, and The Tree of Life.

The festival started off with a bang in the form of four or five extremely well-received titles over the first few days. From there, it was down, down, downhill until the festival hit rock bottom (possibly in its history) with Sean Penn’s The Last Face, which earned a shockingly bad 0.2 collective rating (out of 4) from ScreenDaily.com.

Still, lots of exciting stuff. With a few exceptions, we won’t start seeing this stuff stateside until the fall or, more likely, next spring. But in the mean time, something will become the latest Palme d’Or winner in all but a few hours. Here’s how I’m thinking this year’s awards shape up:

Palme: Maren Ade, Toni Erdmann

Grand Prix: Jim Jarmusch, Paterson

Jury Prize: Cristi Puiu, Sieranevada

Best Actress: Sônia Braga, Aquarius

Best Actor: Shobeib Hosseini, The Salesman

Best Director: Andrea Arnold, American Honey

Best Screenplay: Paul Verhoeven, Elle

This would mean nothing for Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake or Jeff Nichols’ Loving, or Christian Mungiu’s Graduation — all widely admired. But it’s a fairly deep year for movies people really liked and low on ones everyone LOVES, so there are bound to be some disappointed fans in many corners.

I feel best about Toni Erdmann for the Palme (the closest thing this festival has to a sensation) and Sônia Braga for Best Actress. Jarmusch’s Paterson is probably the second-best-received title this year, so I give the man a Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Jury Prize usually goes to an up-and-comer. This is Cristi Puiu’s first Cannes Competition, and his Sieranevada started the festival off on a good note, so he’s my choice there.

American Honey was divisive, but there was little arguing Andrea Arnold’s sure hand and strong vision. With Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller leading the jury, I think we can expect some female-centric choices.

Finally, I think Shobeib Hosseini wins Best Actor for his work in Asghar Farhadi’s latest. (It’s a weak year for this award, it seems, but no one had a bad thing to say about Hosseini.) And Best Screenplay, which often feels like a second place award for Best Director, goes to Paul Verhoeven for Elle, which premiered on the festival’s last day, ending things on a high note when it appeared to be going off the rails.

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