Cannes 2009: The Tomato Report - Critics Pick Their Awards Favourites

The Palme d'Or gets awarded tonight - what are critics tipping?

by | May 24, 2009 | Comments

With the Cannes Film Festival winding down this weekend, talk is now turning to who will win the Palme d’Or this evening. We tracked down several journalists covering the fest to gauge their opinion, and it seems there are two very definite front-runners at present – Michael Haneke‘s The White Ribbon, a taut period drama about a German village pre-WWI, and Jacques Audiard‘s A Prophet, a prison film about a young man’s efforts to survive incarceration in a French jail.

“I am rooting for A Prophet to win,” says Heat’s Charles Gant. “It’s the Gomorrah of this year’s festival, but thanks to its linear storyline it’s arguably more accessible and satisfying than last year’s Mafia drama. But maybe its genre conventionality will count against it with the jury, earning it a lesser prize, possibly Best Actor for young Tahar Rahim, making his big-screen debut.

“One school of thought says it would be controversial for the jury to give the Palme D’Or to another French film after The Class won in 2008, but I don’t think juries think like that.

“The favourite at this stage is probably Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon. He’s never won before and it’s a very solid Euro arthouse offering: a slow-build film that commands engagement through Haneke’s usual trick of withholding information.

“The third film in strong contention is Jane Campion‘s Bright Star. I’m not excited by that idea, although I did considerably like the film. In style and subject (poet John Keats’ chaste love affair with his neighbour), it seems slightly conventional, especially when compared with recent winners such as The Class and Romanian abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.”

Cannes 2009
Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet.

The Times’ Wendy Ide concurs with Gant. “In my opinion, the two strongest contenders are A Prophet and The White Ribbon. The latter might just swing it because of its uncompromising and distinctive style, intellectual rigor, and because jury president Isabelle Huppert has collaborated with him before. But then again, the jury could just go nuts and give it to Antichrist.”

The latter is Lars von Trier‘s controversial horror film, which stars Willem Defoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a grieving couple trying to mend their relationship in an isolated cabin in the woods. It has certainly divided opinion out here, but The Independent’s Kaleem Aftab is most definitely a fan. “I genuinely hope it wins,” he said. “Love it or hate it, von Trier’s visually stunning film provokes debate and makes you question life.”

We also caught up with Leslie Felperin, who had just finished lunch with her fellow Variety critics, where talk had also apparently turned to the Palme. “The collective consensus is that first and foremost you can never tell what a jury’s going to plump for,” she said. “So often serious horse-trading goes on and something worthy but dull takes the prize because the jurors are too divided about the more obvious candidates.

“We were all joking at lunch that we can just imagine juror Asia Argento championing Lars von Trier’s Antichrist to the horror of the others. Having said that, I would bet that the Michael Haneke movie, The White Ribbon, is a strong contender for the Palme just because he’s never won the Palme itself (although he’s won best director and, I think, grand jury prizes), and one of his leading ladies, Isabelle Huppert, is head of the jury this year. I hasten to add that I haven’t even seen the film, but apparently it’s very good.

“Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet ought to and probably will win something because it’s brilliantly made, although it could be described as a ‘genre’ movie, and juries often fail to honour such films. Which is dumb, but there you go.”

Cannes 2009
The White Ribbon

But what of Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino‘s eagerly anticipated WWII flick that ticks all the genre boxes? According to Empire’s Damon Wise, the film’s popularity will count against it. “It would enable QT to join the double-Palme club, but I think the film’s entertainment factor might count against it,” he says.

It may also not help that jury president Huppert had originally been set to star in the film, before Tarantino replaced her for being too “divistic.”

“I think it’s wide open at the minute,” he continues, “But with Isabelle Huppert as head of the jury, with the likes of Asia Argento and Hanif Kureishi backing her up, I don’t think the Palme will go to anything ‘meh’. I’ve been told it’s 50-50 between A Prophet and, er, something else, and I think Audiard’s film will appeal to [jury member] James Gray, certainly. A French film won last year, which might hold it back though. The jury’s five actresses, however, may suggest that women will be especially favoured this year, so Jane Campion and Andrea Arnold could be looking at a win, although perhaps not the Palme itself.

“So I’ll stick my neck out. I think the Palme will go to Antichrist or The White Ribbon. If Haneke wins, Lars gets best director, and vice versa.”

Finally, Total Film’s Jonathan Dean is championing a film about a drug dealer’s tripped out experience in Tokyo that has been causing quite a stir at the tail-end of the festival. “In a world where awards are handed out to films that don’t so much push the envelope as blow it up, Enter The Void would win the Palme d’Or for the next five years. Visually extraordinary and the most mind-warping film I’ve ever seen, [director] Gaspar Noe is a master of invention. Credit would be deserved.

“But clearly, seeing as it’s a bit mad and really tails off in the last hour, Enter The Void won’t win. No chance. Instead I reckon – like everyone else, that A Prophet is the one to beat, even if personally I’d be satisfied with the other favourite The White Ribbon. Keep an eye out for Fish Tank too. A brilliant film sure to push jury members Huppert and Argento’s buttons.”

The winner of the Palme D’Or will be announced this evening. Until then, find out more about critical reaction to films in this year’s festival (in and out of competition) via our Tomato Reports:

Fish Tank
Spring Fever
Bright Star
Taking Woodstock
A Prophet
Looking for Eric
Broken Embraces
I Love You, Phillip Morris
Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Enter the Void

Tag Cloud

wonder woman streaming spy thriller Walt Disney Pictures Musicals book adaptation international criterion Anna Paquin Television Critics Association American Society of Cinematographers summer TV preview comedies miniseries WGN Countdown X-Men Pop leaderboard San Diego Comic-Con what to watch crime golden globes concert Emmys critics theme song jamie lee curtis dceu FOX Tarantino book comic books dark mutant Comic-Con@Home 2021 The Purge slashers sag awards Podcast cancelled target Rock TV movies cars ViacomCBS comic book movies Bravo Valentine's Day Mudbound Amazon Prime SundanceTV TCA Winter 2020 hispanic Food Network historical drama 4/20 Polls and Games 99% asian-american Trailer GIFs feel good Cartoon Network ID television Superheroe harry potter VICE HFPA dramedy Logo serial killer cooking Nat Geo Mindy Kaling The Walking Dead cats USA Rocky Hallmark Christmas movies live action ESPN The Witch Certified Fresh video on demand nbcuniversal streaming movies Toys Hallmark Sundance TV OWN hist toronto space NBC unscripted Opinion Cosplay ITV Mary poppins CMT Martial Arts action-comedy posters comic book movie First Reviews superhero Infographic DC Universe cults screenings Spike Warner Bros. sequel Hear Us Out DGA adaptation Family revenge Interview NYCC romantic comedy 2021 australia news 73rd Emmy Awards deadpool natural history AMC Plus Prime Video live event Marathons green book cops Hollywood Foreign Press Association saw Marvel Studios docuseries Watching Series Brie Larson YA king kong films festivals BBC One Amazon Prime Video boxing crime thriller police drama BET Awards Pop TV Red Carpet YouTube Red award winner TNT Winners Trivia sopranos 24 frames Ovation Song of Ice and Fire classics rotten movies we love TCM Cannes Netflix Holidays 94th Oscars documentary 21st Century Fox basketball independent BBC Calendar Chernobyl 20th Century Fox remakes AMC hispanic heritage month mockumentary FX on Hulu ABC Signature trailers TruTV IMDb TV 79th Golden Globes Awards thriller HBO A24 Schedule National Geographic witnail BBC America Captain marvel Amazon adenture spider-verse free movies Endgame Travel Channel composers BAFTA MTV all-time ABC obi wan tv talk Paramount Plus MSNBC royal family crossover 2017 Neflix PaleyFest Apple TV+ Nickelodeon Grammys Summer new york james bond DirecTV indie HBO Go video SXSW 2022 king arthur SDCC Classic Film young adult FX mob worst movies Extras Fantasy spanish language Reality Competition RT History WarnerMedia E3 cinemax Esquire Music venice nfl Lionsgate Country game of thrones dogs game show worst dexter Disney+ Disney Plus doctor who YouTube Premium anime scene in color Best Picture Tubi teaser MGM Ellie Kemper VOD reboot New York Comic Con Drama Sneak Peek Best Actor 2018 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina foreign Emmy Nominations zombie jurassic park Action medical drama Best Director political drama SXSW based on movie 71st Emmy Awards Exclusive Video LGBTQ Pixar Britbox streamig black comedy Pacific Islander kaiju science fiction japanese Year in Review toy story dragons Vudu spinoff japan Fargo Elton John mission: impossible women discovery binge Legendary Comic Book cancelled TV series Columbia Pictures DC Comics christmas movies ghosts south america politics stoner strong female leads CNN President Disney Channel Tokyo Olympics slasher Apple Showtime art house new star wars movies TCA 2017 2019 MCU comic movies psychological thriller biography Lifetime NBA quibi YouTube transformers 2016 TV One Super Bowl summer TV Winter TV movie Freeform best CBS All Access Alien 1990s razzies Fox News travel 2020 scorecard adventure festival versus period drama HBO Max halloween tv screen actors guild Arrowverse golden globe awards Tumblr Disney USA Network Broadway TCA Lifetime Christmas movies Lucasfilm laika universal monsters war 007 talk show blockbusters mcc ratings 72 Emmy Awards anthology biopic TV Land Dark Horse Comics know your critic Instagram Live First Look Sony Pictures Photos 93rd Oscars sitcom latino Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt See It Skip It Oscar Best and Worst series Amazon Studios rt archives Spring TV high school Spectrum Originals vs. Writers Guild of America CW Seed ABC Family Comedy Central gangster Paramount Pet Sematary Biopics Awards Comics on TV LGBT APB Universal PlayStation Thanksgiving batman children's TV rotten stop motion marvel comics Crackle elevated horror docudrama PBS prank renewed TV shows kong Mary Tyler Moore Film Festival Mystery black parents hidden camera Pride Month franchise comiccon Tags: Comedy Best Actress Television Academy crime drama Oscars hollywood Creative Arts Emmys richard e. Grant romance Western Syfy Star Wars Horror Rom-Com FXX cancelled TV shows blockbuster A&E BET Peacock cartoon psycho dreamworks canceled TV shows Tomatazos Black History Month canceled diversity Comedy Hulu Holiday die hard Heroines The Academy Paramount Network Rocketman TLC The CW Teen cancelled television Turner finale Fall TV spider-man Funimation italian Mary Poppins Returns olympics 90s blaxploitation french TIFF a nightmare on elm street directors Shondaland Stephen King scary football Apple TV Plus Christmas RT21 Women's History Month Universal Pictures fresh dc singing competition scary movies heist movie Wes Anderson Reality casting VH1 TV renewals popular zombies DC streaming service comics sequels Pirates archives Sci-Fi justice league aapi halloween Academy Awards Election TBS genre disaster suspense spain Masterpiece TV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards El Rey godzilla boxoffice IFC rt labs History true crime Ghostbusters Black Mirror stand-up comedy marvel cinematic universe social media Kids & Family E! Quiz kids child's play Nominations Adult Swim nature TCA Awards satire breaking bad summer preview sports robots Video Games name the review Character Guide Set visit Star Trek Baby Yoda Discovery Channel reviews Film Sundance aliens rt labs critics edition zero dark thirty Acorn TV Disney Plus critic resources werewolf Netflix Christmas movies new zealand emmy awards monster movies South by Southwest Film Festival spanish Marvel Television Crunchyroll The Arrangement Animation Turner Classic Movies CBS Avengers Musical Sundance Now GoT Image Comics indiana jones animated Superheroes Box Office Trophy Talk documentaries Epix Starz Binge Guide facebook Shudder superman lord of the rings Fox Searchlight Marvel legend The Walt Disney Company Premiere Dates joker Awards Tour GLAAD debate fast and furious rom-coms OneApp Disney streaming service 45 pirates of the caribbean obituary technology telelvision twilight chucky trophy supernatural IFC Films 2015 vampires