Cannes film festival organisers on Thursday unveil their pick of the A-listers and art house “auteurs” chosen to take part in this year’s movie extravaganza on the French Riviera.
Of the hundreds of films submitted each year, only about 20 are rewarded with a coveted slot in the official line-up of films invited to compete for the top Palme d’Or prize.
Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux will end months of speculation when, at a ceremony in Paris, he reveals the films that have made the cut.
Hollywood stars predicted to tread the red carpet this year include Ryan Gosling, Robert Pattinson, Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep although organisers never give anything away and always like to keep plenty of surprises up their sleeves.
European cinema could be represented by the Dardenne brothers and Ken Loach while Abderrahmane Sissako from Mauritania, Apichatpong Weerasethakul from Thailand and Tetsuya Nakashima from Japan are among the others who could be in with a chance.
Held almost every year since 1946, the festival is famed as much for launching the careers of filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino as for its glitzy red carpet photo calls, luxury yachts, star-studded parties and diamond heists.
And behind the scenes film industry executives and producers turn the festival into a huge marketplace as they cut deals to secure a share in the next big movie event.
So far just two films have been announced for the May 14-25 festival, although neither will be screened in competition.
Grace of Monaco, starring Australian actress Nicole Kidman as the former Hollywood star Grace Kelly, will open the festival on May 14, while Party Girl, a French film about an ageing night club hostess, will open the Un Certain Regard new talent section.
Even before its release, the royal biopic has been making headlines. The film is likely to be boycotted by Grace’s children, Prince Albert and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie, who have dismissed it as a work of “pure fiction”.
Based around the late Prince Rainier (played by British actor Tim Roth) and Grace, who died in a car crash in 1982, it tracks events at a time when France was threatening to annex the tiny principality on its southern coast.
A disagreement between the film’s French director Olivier Dahan and American producer Harvey Weinstein over the editing of the movie, meanwhile, has resulted in rival versions being made.
“There are two versions of the film – mine and his – which I find catastrophic,” the director has said.
The row leaves open the question of which man’s movie will be shown in Cannes and supplies a dash of controversy – a traditional component of the world’s biggest film festival.