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Cannes 2013 Derby: James Gray’s The Immigrant Tops Blake’s Palme d’Or Predictions

Obviously, we won’t know till we see the films. But last year I predicted Amour‘s victory based on the likely preferences of the jury, so that makes me some kind of prophet in my opinion, therefore allow me to deem James Gray’s The Immigrant to be this year’s odds-on favorite, a film he believes to be his best, which could end his losing streak in Cannes in a big way. It has star power, a talented auteur, and appears to deal with a touchy subject – if the title is anything to go on.

Also look out for M. Desplechin, who’s also never won the big prize, and appears to be taking on projects that get more and more ambitious until there will just be no choice left. The big-name jury may want to send Soderbergh off into semi-retirement with a bang, and the film seems to engage with social issues that the jury may feel warrant feting. Kore-eda and Farhadi are always solid (Farhadi in particular is on a hot streak) so never count them out.

But this is all fun and games until shit gets real mid-May. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted Holy Motors as a major contender before the festival last year, yet it ended up as one of the key favorites (nevermind the end results). Maybe A Castle in Italy will come out of nowhere and kick all kinds of ass (doubtful), or Jimmy P. could be regarded as some harrowingly misguided and unintentionally racist stinker brimming with tasteless rape scenes (also doubtful). Will Payne pull a Frances Ha with his black-and-white Nebraska and make a movie that doesn’t suck? TBA.

A Final note: Though it’s not quite near the top of my odds tally, I’m calling the super long Kechiche as this year’s most likely potential unqualified masterpiece. Though should that be the case, and if recent history is anything to go be, don’t expect any awards going Tunisia’s way.

The Immigrant (James Gray) 5 – 1
Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian) (Arnaud Desplechin) 7 – 1
Behind the Candelabra (Steven Soderbergh) 10 – 1
Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Kore-eda) 10 – 1
The Past (Asghar Farhadi) 10 – 1
Grigris (Mahamat Saleh Haroun) 13 – 1
Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche) 15 – 1
Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn) 15 – 1
Michael Kohlhaas (Arnaud des Pallieres) 18 – 1
Nebraska (Alexander Payne) 20 – 1
Heli (Amat Escalante) 25 – 1
Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch) 30 – 1
A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhang-ke) 40 – 1
Borgman (Alex Van Warmerdam) 50 – 1
A Castle in Italy (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) 50 – 1
The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino) 60 – 1
Venus In Fur (Roman Polanski) 75 – 1
Young and Beautiful (Francois Ozon) 75 – 1
Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen) 75 – 1
Shield of Straw (Takashi Miike) 100 – 1

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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