Cannes Film Festival 2015: the winners and losers

From Palme d'Or winner Dhepan to hailed hits Carol, The Lobster and Inside Out and the resounding boos that met Matthew McConaughey's The Sea of Trees, here are the hits and misses of the French festival




This year’s Palme d’Or – Cannes’ top prize – went to Jacques Audiard’s drama Dheepan about a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and finds work as a caretaker outside Paris. The film’s triumph was something of a surprise for commentators as Audiard – who won the Grand Prize in 2009 for A Prophet – took to the stage to thank his screenwriters Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré. (Some had expected Holocaust drama Son of Saul, which won the Grand Prize, to be honoured with the prestigious Palme d’Or.) Rooney Mara – who stars in Carol (see below) – shared the best actress prize with Emmanuelle Bercot (Mon Roi), while best actor went to Vincent Lindon for The Measure of a Man and the Jury Prize was awarded to The Lobster starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and Ben Whishaw.


It’s been over a year since Cate Blanchett got her hands on an Oscar for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and already there are whisperings of another golden statuette, but it was her co-star Rooney Mara who was honoured by the Cannes jury for her role in Carol. Blanchett plays socialite Carol Aird opposite Mara’s department store worker Therese Belivet and the critics have been fighting over who can offer the most effusive praise. “Cate and Rooney rule,” gushes The Hollywood Reporter, while Variety calls it an “exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story”. Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian love story had been tipped by many as a frontrunner for this year’s Palme d’Or, eventually overlooked in favour of Dheepan, but Carol is on Harvey Weinstein’s books so expect an almighty awards season push come 2016.

Inside Out

Pixar’s latest flick wowed the crowds at Cannes on Monday night with the critics once again stumbling over themselves to heap acclaim on the Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer-starring animation set inside the mind of a young girl. A standing ovation soon followed and Inside Out has since clocked up a mass of five-star reviews, hailed as “a triumphant return to top, top form for Pixar” by Total Film while Deadline’s Pete Hammond calls it “a wildly original and inventive ‘toon that, quite frankly, is unlike any other animated movie I have seen.” The film is released in the US next month, but UK fans have a longer wait in store before Inside Out hits cinemas on 24th July.

Mad Max: Fury Road

The rave reviews were already in before Mad Max screened at Cannes last week, but George Miller’s hailed revival of the franchise got its chance to bask in the adulation during the film’s world premiere. Fury Road’s stars were out in force for the occasion, with Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz and a glamorous Charlize Theron (accompanied by partner Sean Penn) all strolling the red carpet

The Lobster

Ben Whishaw, Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell made an almighty splash with the first showing of their fantasy flick The Lobster which took home the Jury Prize at this year’s ceremony. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ surreal imagined world features a dating game which sees single humans given 45 days to find a mate or be turned into an animal of their choice. A moustached and paunched Farrell stars as an Irishman hunting for a member of the opposite sex before he becomes – you guessed it – a lobster. He’s already being tipped as a potential recipient of Cannes’ best actor prize, but The Lobster’s all-star cast – which also includes Olivia Colman, Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly – and Lanthimos have already picked up heaps of praise with #TheLobster trending on Twitter throughout last Friday.


Winner of the most publicity attached to a film showing at Cannes has to go to Asif Kapadia’s Amy. Featuring archive footage of late singer Amy Winehouse, plus interviews from friends, family and colleagues, the documentary has already been condemned for its inaccuracies by her father Mitch and partner Reg Traviss, but that hasn’t stopped critics dubbing it “heartbreaking and extraordinary”. With its combination of controversy and near-unanimous praise, Amy will no doubt prove a major draw for audiences when it reaches cinemas this July.

Son of Saul

This Hungarian drama is the feature length debut for director Lázsló Nemes and the first on-screen appearance from actor Géza Röhrig – that’s nothing unusual, until you learn that the searing Holocaust film stunned Cannes audiences, winning the jury’s Grand Prize and earning a slew of five star reviews for what The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw has described as “a horror movie of extraordinary focus and courage”. Set in the Auschwitz–Birkenau death camp, Son of Saul looks at a group of prisoners known as the Sonderkommando, responsible for carrying bodies from the gas chambers to the pyres to be burned and disposing of their ashes afterwards. The subject matter is shocking but the critics are united in their praise of its achievements.

Bebe Cave

While 17-year-old actress Bebe Cave was walking the red carpet at the Cannes premiere of her film Tale of Tales, her schoolmates back home were sitting their A-Levels. Bebe had to get special permission to jet out of England to watch the high profile screening of director Matteo Garrone’s fantasy film – in which she plays a spoiled princess betrothed to an ogre – arranging to take her English A-Level in Nice mere hours after hobnobbing with A-list co-stars Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly and Vincent Cassell. Feeling like an underachiever yet? Yup, us too.

Cheryl’s dress

She may be one of Britain’s biggest TV stars, but Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is a drop in the ocean among the acting community who descend on Cannes. So, naturally, she picked a dress that couldn’t fail to turn heads as she walked the red carpet at the premiere of Irrational Man on the arm of her husband Jean-Bernard. Accessorising her dusky pink number with plenty of diamonds, the X Factor judge proved she was every bit as glamorous as Hollywood’s A-listers.

Au revoir, c'etait un plaisir @lorealparisuk ?

A post shared by Cheryl (@cherylofficial) on


Only in Cannes, eh? Uber has launched a new service offering to helicopter those too posh to taxi from Nice airport to the home of the festival. For the bargain price of just *cough* €160, a maximum of four passengers can take to the skies instead of the busy roads as they make their way to their latest film premiere or business meeting. Why, we hear you ask? Because you Cannes.


The Sea of Trees

Matthew McConaughey’s new flick was met with a much-publicised “sea” of boos when it debuted in the French coastal town last week. Following his 2014 Oscar win for Dallas Buyers Club, we were expecting the actor’s portrayal of a man who travels to a Japanese forest with the purpose of committing suicide to strike a chord with audiences, but instead the Cannes crowd jeered director Gus Van Sant’s effort. And the critics are in full agreement – The Guardian‘s one-star review labels the film “inert” and claims McConaughey’s performance “strains every sinew”, while Variety’s Justin Chang brands it a “profound cultural insult”. He adds that Sea of Trees is “almost impressive in the way it shifts from dreary two-hander to so-so survival thriller to terminal-illness weepie to M. Night Shyamalan/Nicholas Sparks-level spiritual hokum.” Ouch!


“You never look as ugly as you do in a selfie,” decreed festival director Thierry Frémaux a few weeks ago as he slapped an impromptu selfie ban on the Cannes red carpets. With selfie sticks banned in such venues as The Colosseum, The National Gallery and Wimbledon, pouting poses looked to be under serious threat. That is until the likes of Eva Longoria, Aishwarya Rai and Salma Hayek donned their gladrags and boldly flouted festival guidelines by snapping away in front of the gathered crowds. Although one eager guest may have regretted his attempts to include a sour-faced Woody Allen in this stolen pic…


The on-demand service scored a coup earlier this year when it commissioned a TV series from multiple Oscar winner Woody Allen. The as-yet-untitled show will be written and directed by the 79-year-old filmmaker who said at the time: “I don’t know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I’m not sure where to begin.” But, speaking at a press conference for his new film Irrational Man, Allen poured further scorn on his new project, telling reporters he had made a “catastrophic mistake” in agreeing to work on the series. “I’m doing my best with it, he said, “but I should never have gotten into it. I thought six half-hours would be a cinch, but it’s not. It’s very hard. I’m not good at it, I’m floundering.”

Indeed, Cannes has been a mixed experience for the director as Irrational Man – which stars Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone – was screened to a two-minute standing ovation from the audience but met with some mediocre reviews with Indie Wire naming it an “embarrassment” while The Hollywood Reporter called it Allen “on vintage form”. Audiences can draw their own conclusions when it’s released this summer.


Check back for updates as the Cannes Film Festival continues