Cannes Oscar Buzz: ‘Carol,’ Pixar’s ‘Inside Out,’ Amy Winehouse Doc Lead the Race

The Cannes Film Festival reminded Hollywood that it’s never too early to start campaigning for next year’s Academy Awards.

The O-word first popped up during a presentation from Harvey Weinstein about his upcoming slate, where he promised that Jake Gyllenhaal would get nominated for playing a boxer in this summer’s “Southpaw.” But Weinstein showed that he had more than one awards-season trick up his sleeve with the premiere of “Carol,” the biggest Oscar contender to debut at this year’s festival.

Here are five films from Cannes that will likely be awards-season contenders.

“Carol”: Todd Haynes’ lesbian love story, which opens theatrically in December, is certain to be in the running for best picture, director and screenplay (Phyllis Nagy spent 15 years adapting Patricia Highsmith’s scandalous 1952 novel). It should land Cate Blanchett her seventh Oscar nomination for the title role of a woman in an unhappy marriage. Rooney Mara, who portrays her inexperienced girlfriend, also shines in a lead role, but don’t be surprised if she gets downgraded to best supporting actress, where her odds will be stronger.

Inside Out”: In 2009, Pixar came to Cannes with “Up,” which earned the second best picture nomination ever for an animated film. This year, it returned with the out-of-competition comedy set in the mind of a young girl, where her emotions such as Joy and Anger run amok. If the Academy keeps the best picture race to more than five nominees, “Inside Out” has an excellent chance of landing one of those slots. It’s also now the frontrunner for best-animated film, but it will have to compete with another Pixar movie, “The Good Dinosaur,” which opens in November.

“Sicario”: Denis Villeneuve’s drug trade drama “Sicario” earned strong reviews, especially for its star Emily Blunt, who plays an FBI agent. The Lionsgate release (slated for September) could finally earn the “Into the Woods” actress her first Oscar nom.

“Amy”: While the Academy’s doc division has shown an aversion to celebrity documentaries — such as “Life Itself” about Roger Ebert, “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” or “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” — it may be harder to forget the devastating portait of how addiction destroyed once-in-a-generation crooner Amy Winehouse, which had the Cannes audience in tears. A24 will debut the film in July in the U.S.

“Son of Saul”: The consensus in the South of France is that the foreign language film category will certainly find room for a nomination — if not an outright win — to Laszlo Nemes’ feature film directorial debut, “Son of Saul.” The Holocaust drama from Hungary was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics after a fierce bidding war.

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