This Thursday, April 17, the complete 2014 Cannes Film Festival line-up will be announced and while this will be my first year since 2010 that I won't be in attendance I still can't help but be curious and excited. We know Grace of Monaco will serve as the opener and have also learned in the last 48 hours Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman and Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice won't be in attendance, which eliminates two of the potentially major entrants, but what's left?
It's more or less confirmed David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars will be in the line-up. Other very likely candidates include Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit), Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman and The Rover starring Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce. I expect The Rover will be a Director's Fortnight entrant.
Other strong competitors with a larger amount of audience awareness include Xavier Dolan's Mommy, Thomas Vinterberg's Far from the Madding Crowd, The Search from Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) and Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall.
Then, of course, you have Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher, Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner and Sony Pictures Classics recently set a July 25 release date for Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight, which makes it a very likely entrant.
Perhaps Ryan Gosling's How to Catch a Monster, Stephen Frears' Untitled Lance Armstrong Biopic or Ryan Murphy's HBO drama The Normal Heart starring Taylor Kitsch, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons, Mark Ruffalo and Jonathan Groff.
We already know Party Girl, directed by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis, will open the Un Certain Regard selection, a line-up that pretty much always features a Sundance standout, which, to me, suggests something like Whiplash is likely to show up.
Mathieu Amalric may be on hand with his latest directorial effort The Blue Room and perhaps Olivier Assayas with Clouds of Sils Maria starring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz. Zhang Yimou's Coming Home has a chance and The Cut from Fatih Akin starring Tahir Rahim (A Prophet, The Past).
One big question is what "big" films might be in attendance and the list is a short one. Looking at the summer release dates, the best bets are on Maleficent and How to Train Your Dragon 2. I've heard some people suggest X-Men: Days of Future Past, but that seems incredibly unlikely to me.
We'll know soon enough, which films will make the final list and I'll have that list for you early Thursday morning as the press conference announcing the line-up begins at 11 AM CEST / 2 AM PST, this Thursday, April 17. See you then.