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Festival Predictions

2013 Cannes Film Festival Predictions: Lee Daniels’ The Butler

#58. Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Gist: “Lee tells stories in a way no one else does,” says Harvey Weinstein, and I don’t think he’ll get any arguments on that point. In a surprising turn toward PG-13 filmmaking (“I feel muzzled”), The Butler pits Forest Whitaker in the lead as Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight presidents during his tenure from 1952 to 1986. Where Oprah and the above still fits in (an image that, really, couldn’t have been made by any other working filmmaker) we have no idea. As usual, though, we’re morbidly curious to find out.

Prediction: To put it mildly, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy was torn to shreds in last year’s Main Competition. Unless Gilles and Thierry have a perverse attachment to the man’s work, which they must for Paperboy to be there in the first place, he won’t be back in Competition until he’s ‘matured.’ That said, this thing has tons of star power ripe for a huge rep carpet (Oprah, Whitaker, Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, John Cusack, and on it goes), so an Out of Competition slot would make a lot of sense.

Blake Williams is an avant-garde filmmaker born in Houston, currently living and working in Toronto. He recently entered the PhD program at University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Institute, and has screened his video work at TIFF (2011 & '12), Tribeca (2013), Images Festival (2012), Jihlava (2012), and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Blake has contributed to's coverage for film festivals such as Cannes, TIFF, and Hot Docs. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (Rosetta), Haneke (Code Unknown), Hsiao-Hsien (Flight of the Red Balloon), Kar-wai (Happy Together), Kiarostami (Where is the Friend's Home?), Lynch (INLAND EMPIRE), Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs), Van Sant (Last Days), Von Trier (The Idiots)

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