Who may be in the running for Palme d'Or
ORGANISERS of the Cannes film festival will on Thursday fire the starting gun for this year's Riviera movie extravaganza when they unveil the films chosen to compete for its top Palme d'Or prize.
Ryan Gosling, Catherine Deneuve, Ken Loach, Meryl Streep, Gerard Depardieu, Woody Allen, Robert Pattinson and Jean-Luc Godard are just a few of the names being touted to tread the red carpet this year.
Loach, one of cinema's most celebrated directors, won the Palme d'Or in 2006 and is widely tipped to return to Cannes with Jimmy's Hall, especially if, as expected, it turns out to be his last feature film.
Gosling's directorial debut, How To Catch A Monster, is also much fancied after his two previous Cannes appearances as an actor in the hyper-violent Drive and last year's Only God Forgives.
With a reputation for launching careers - such as those of Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino - a spot in the official competition line-up is always much-prized.
Already confirmed for the May 14-25 festival is opening film Grace Of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as former Hollywood star Grace Kelly whose 1956 marriage to Prince Rainier was labelled the "wedding of the century".
Other films tipped for competition slots by French and film media include Tommy Lee Jones' western The Homesman, in which he also stars alongside Streep, and David Cronenberg's Maps To The Stars, starring John Cusack, Julianne Moore and Pattinson.
From Asia, nominations could go to Japanese directors Tetsuya Nakashima (Kawaki), Sono Sion (Tokyo Tribe), Naomi Kawase (Still The Water) and Isao Takahata (The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter).
Also in the running could be Singapore's Eric Khoo (The Charming Rose), China's Zhang Yimou (Coming Home), Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-hsien (The Assassin) and Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Cemetery Of Kings).