2019 Cannes Film Festival: Oscars next for ‘Parasite’ and Antonio Banderas?

The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival has wrapped and the two films that looked well-positioned for this year’s Oscars (Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” and Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life”) both went home empty-handed.

Cannes’ coveted Palme d’Or went to South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s comedy-drama, “Parasite.” The film, about two families from different classes that find themselves on a collision course with each other, had the most glowing reviews of this year’s entries. Bong is now the first Korean director to win the top honor. The film’s win here could catapult it into serious Oscar consideration. Since 1955, 39 winners of this top honor have amassed a total of 129 Academy Award nominations, with 28 Oscar wins spanning 16 films. And 15 Palme d’Or champs scored Best Picture nominations: “Marty” (1955), “Friendly Persuasion” (1957), “M*A*S*H” (1970), “The Conversation” (1974), “Taxi Driver” (1976), “Apocalypse Now” (1979), “All That Jazz” (1979), “Missing” (1982), “The Mission” (1986), “The Piano” (1993), “Pulp Fiction” (1994), “Secrets & Lies” (1996), “The Pianist” (2002), “The Tree of Life” (2011) and “Amour” (2012). “Marty” is the only film that has won both prizes.

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But considering how hard it can be for a foreign language film to get into the Best Picture race, Bong might have to settle for recognition in the Best International Film category. Should South Korea submit the film (and they already submitted a Joon-ho film in 2009 with “Mother”), it could get some momentum there. Five Palme d’Or champs have gone on to win the International Film Oscar: “Black Orpheus” from France (1959), “A Man and a Woman” from France (1966), “The Tin Drum” from West Germany (1979), “Pelle the Conqueror” from Denmark (1988) and “Amour” from Austria (2012). And ten others were nominated for that Oscar: “Keeper of Promises” from Brazil (1962), “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” from France (1964), “Kagemusha: The Shadow Warrior” from Japan (1980), “Man of Iron” from Poland (1981), “When Father Was Away on Business” from Yugoslavia (1985), “Farewell My Concubine” from Hong Kong (1993), “The Class” from France (2008), “The White Ribbon” from Germany (2009), “The Square” from Sweden (2017) and “Shoplifters” from Japan (2018).

There could be some Oscar potential for Antonio Banderas, who took the Best Actor prize for Pedro Almodóvar’s latest, “Pain and Glory.” Banderas portrays a film director who is reflecting on the choices that he’s made throughout his life. Fifteen winners of the Best Actor award at Cannes have been nominated by the Academy and five have taken home Oscar: Ray Milland for “The Lost Weekend” (1945); Jon Voight for “Coming Home” (1978); William Hurt for “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1985); Christoph Waltz for “Inglorious Basterds” (2009, Supporting); and Jean Dujardin for “The Artist” (2011). A foreign language performance that won at Cannes has only translated to an Oscar nomination once before, Javier Bardem in “Biutiful” in 2010, which doesn’t bode well for Banderas.

This year’s Grand Prix went to “Atlantique” by Mati Diop, the first black woman ever to have a film in competition in the Croisette. Fourteen past Grand Prix winners went on to earn 28 total Oscar nominations with six films scoring eight wins. Five of the six — “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion” from Italy (1970); “Cinema Paradiso” from Italy (1989); “Burnt by the Sun” from Russia (1994); “Life is Beautiful” from Italy (1998); and “Son of Saul” from Hungary (2015) — won Best International Film. “Life is Beautiful” also won Best Actor (Roberto Benigni) and Original Dramatic Score and “BlacKkKlansman” won Best Adapted Screenplay this past year.

SEE Cannes Film Festival lineup 2019: Full list of films includes Malick, Almodovar and more, but women still underrepresented

The Jury Prize was awarded to two films this year: “Les Misérables” by French director Ladj Ly and “Bacurau” from the Brazilian filmmaking team of Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles. The films that have won here don’t have much correlation at the Oscars. Twelve films that have won the Jury Prize have amassed 37 Oscar nominations and nine total wins. Among those wins were one for Best Picture (“All About Eve” which played at Cannes in 1951, the year after its six Oscar wins) and two for Best International Film (“Mon Oncle” in 1958 from France and “Z” in 1969 from Algeria). Last year’s winner, “Capernaum,” was able to make it into the Best International Film race after being submitted by Lebanon.

Cannes regulars, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, claimed the Best Director prize for their story about a young boy getting corrupted by extremism, “The Young Ahmed.” But only seven of the helmers who prevailed here went on to contend at the Oscars in the same category: Robert Altman for “The Player” (1992); Joel Coen for “Fargo” (1996); David Lynch for “Mulholland Drive” (2001); Alejandro González Iñárritu for “Babel” (2006); Julian Schnabel for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (2007); Bennett Miller for “Foxcatcher” (2014); and Pawel Pawlikowski for “Cold War” (2018). Both “Fargo” and “Babel” earned Best Picture nominations. The brothers could also be at a disadvantage in the Best International Film race, as they have never been nominated despite having four of their films submitted by their native Belgium.

The lone English-language winner was in the Best Actress category, which went to Emily Beechum. She was recognized for her portrayal of a scientist who develops a flower that causes people to feel positive emotions in Jessica Hausner’s, “Little Joe.” Twenty past Cannes champs for Best Actress received nominations from the academy, and four won: Simone Signoret for “Room at the Top” (1959); Sophia Loren for “Two Women” (1961); Sally Field for “Norma Rae” (1979); and Holly Hunter for “The Piano” (1993).

The award for Best Screenplay went to Céline Sciamma for her tale of forbidden love between two women, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” Four screenplay winners at Cannes have gone on to the International Film Oscar: “Mephisto” from Hungary (1981), “No Man’s Land” from Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001), “The Barbarian Invasions” from Canada (2003) and “The Salesman” from Iran (2016). And two others were nominated: “Footnote” from Israel (2011) and “Leviathan” from Russia (2014).

A special mention of the jury was given to Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman’s comedic film about searching for a new home, “It Must Be Heaven.” Other films that were well-reviewed from this year’s festival that went home without anything included Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You,” Yi’nan Dao’s “The Wild Goose Lake” and Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor.”

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