From left, Wallace Wolodarsky, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson are among the stars of the upcoming film from Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch.
May 19, 2021
Over the last decade or so, a lot of folks, myself included, have shifted their idea of what would be the ultimate honor in film.
For decades, winning Best Picture at the Oscars was the highest honor. But that’s changing. In my opinion, the most notable accolade a film can get is winning the Palme d’Or at the annual Cannes Film Festival.
To illustrate this point, I’m going to list out some of the winners: Parasite (2019); Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013); Amour (2012); The Tree of Life (2011); 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007); The Child (2005); Elephant (2003); Dancer in the Dark (2000); Secrets & Lies (1996); Pulp Fiction (1994); Barton Fink (1991); Wild at Heart (1990); Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989); Paris, Texas (1984); Missing (1982); All that Jazz (1980); The Tin Drum (1979); Apocalypse Now (1979); Taxi Driver (1976); The Conversation (1974); and MASH (1970).
Some of the best films ever made, right? And those are just a handful of the highlights from the last 50 years of Palme d’Or winners.
Aside from Parasite, none of those films won best picture. I’ll repeat that: aside from Parasite, none of those films won best picture. Zero. Not Apocalypse Now, not Taxi Driver, not Pulp Fiction nor The Tree of Life.
The Oscars are certainly a fun show to watch and discuss, but when I review their list of Best Picture winners from the last 50 years juxtaposed against the Palme d’Or winners, there’s no competition.
THis year’s competition
Last year’s Cannes Film Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19. Because of that, a whole lot of films were set aside so they could compete for a post-COVID-19 Palme. The festival this year, which is set to take place July 6-17 in France, has so far announced just three of the films that will compete.
A musical called Annette, Leos Carax’s long-awaited, much anticipated follow up to his instant classic Holy Motors, will open the festival, representing France, Germany, and Belgium. Paul Verhoeven’s Bendetta, starring Charlotte Rampling and Virginie Efira, and shot by Jeanne Lapoirie, has also been accepted. Finally, the film that a lot of folks are betting will win the Palme d’Or, Wes Anderson’s much anticipated The French Dispatch, has been accepted.
Fantastic Mr. Anderson
Let me tell ya, there’s not a movie I’m more excited to see than The French Dispatch. I’m the perfect age to be a true Wes Anderson fanboy. While I spent a few years hiding my WA love, nowadays I have nothing to hide. The once-upon-a-time WA haters have seemingly caught up with the times and come to appreciate Wes, who is essentially an Art Director who makes movies — not entirely unlike Stanley Kubrick.
I first fell for Wes in the winter of 1998. I was a pretentious college freshman who worked at a record store. The store I worked at had received a promo copy of the Rushmore soundtrack, and we all geeked out about how good the picks were. The cover art, the trailer, Bill Murray — all of it seemed promising.
My friend Teddy and I saw Rushmore at the since-demolished Coventry 13 theater on the southwest side of town. My mind was blown. I was completely hooked. The next day I went to the Suncoast movie store in the mall and paid $25 for a VHS copy of Anderson’s first film, Bottle Rocket, then proceeded to essentially watch it on repeat for a few months.
I had “Beatlemania” for Wes Anderson and his tribe. I could go on and on about that fandom, about how much all the Cannes films mean to me, and about how amazing it would be to see Wes Anderson win a Palme d’Or.
Be excited for wes
I don’t know what other films will be in competition this year. We will more than likely be getting a steady flow of announcements about films being included over the next couple of weeks. I’m here for it and ready to watch all the trailers and read about all the films. I think that’s a more interesting, rewarding task than attempting to watch all the Oscar movies in a given year.
Watch all the Cannes films instead of the Oscar films. Trust me. And yes, be very excited about The French Dispatch. Trust me.
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