Cannes vs. Oscar*

The Tree of Life‘, Terrence Malick’s first film in six years, has won the Palme d’Or. Good. You’ve got to be happy for the Malick. I’m not sure how enthusiastic I will be about the film, however. It sounds irksomely profound. Then again, from what I’d read, I wasn’t too sure about last year’s winner, ‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,’ but was utterly enchanted by that film when I saw it, and when I came to consider it in writing, I found I loved it all the more (if you haven’t already read the article, you’ll find it here).

I had ‘Uncle Boonmee’ in mind when I started to prepare this blog. The build-up to the Academy Awards was also reaching a crescendo and the web was brimming with representations for and against ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘The Social Network’, ‘Black Swan’, et al. I was tempted to wade in, but resisted. The discussion seemed to assume the Academy’s decision was of some critical consequence and I didn’t want to buy in to that. Not any more. It’s not that the Academy makes mistakes on occasion: it’s that it rarely even permits itself to consider the best films, that’s without mentioning the campaigning now required to make an impact.

No, if there’s any award in the film world that comes consistently close to picking the film of the year, it’s the Palme d’Or. Unfortunately, we can’t get so involved in that pageant because so few of us will have seen the films. One thing’s for sure though: Cannes beats the Academy every time. Or does it?

I’ve knocked up a little pub game for us to play.

The last twenty Best Pictures versus the last twenty Palme d’Or winners. Pick your favourite each year and see who comes out on top. (If you haven’t seen both – why not?! – you can strike that year, and if you can’t decide, well, declare it a tie.) I’ll publish my scores, next Sunday.

Returning to ‘The Tree of Life‘, could this be the year that Cannes and Oscar* agree?

Cannes versus Oscar*

2010: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives ~ The King’s Speech

2009: The White Ribbon ~  The Hurt Locker

2008: The Class ~  Slumdog Millionaire

2007: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days ~  No Country For Old Men

2006: The Wind That Shakes The Barley  ~  The Departed

2005: L’enfant ~  Crash

2004: Fahrenheit 9/11 ~  Million Dollar Baby

2003: Elephant ~  Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Ring

2002: The Pianist ~  Chicago

2001: The Son’s Room ~  A Beautiful Mind

2000: Dancer In The Dark  ~  Gladiator

1999: Rosetta ~  American Beauty

1998: Eternity and a Day ~  Shakespeare In Love

1997: Taste of Cherry / The Eel  ~  Titanic

1996: Secrets & Lies ~  The English Patient

1995: Underground ~  Braveheart

1994: Pulp Fiction ~  Forrest Gump

1993: The Piano / Farewell My Concubine  ~  Schindler’s List

1992: The Best Intentions ~  Unforgiven

1991: Barton Fink  ~  The Silence of the Lambs


If you haven’t already, please leave your scores/selection as a comment. I’m very interested to see which comes out on top. There’s an additional challenge now, as suggested by a reader: how many of these titles couldn’t be sat through again, or to put it another way, which of these titles would you never want to see again?


7 responses to “Cannes vs. Oscar*

  1. Ok, I have seen only these pairings: Pulp fiction and forrest Gump – that’s easy- Pulp Fiction. Secrets & Lies and The English Patient- porbably would go for EP. That is it. Better forward list to film group!

    • English Patient vs. Secrets & Lies: that’s an interesting match up. Makes you want to watch them both again, though EP would be disadvantaged by the small screen.

  2. The Palme d’Or wins for me – but from a very small pool (?raindrop) of eligible pairings. The English Patient I can carry enough of in my head, so Secrets and Lies would win (plus always uncritically biased towards Mike Leigh) Pulp Fiction vs Forrest Gump more of a challenge – both excruciating in their own way, one kewl, the other so very, very not. And up against The Piano *and* Farewell my Concubine it is an impossible contest for Schindler’s List. (NB Do not buy the soundtrack album for Farewell my Concubine, it is a travesty – though some might be relieved by my views on that, thus sparing them Peking Opera)

  3. A straight tie for me. Might be different if I’d seen more Cannes winners, but amongst the close calls, Underground beats Braveheart in just about every way. Pulp Fiction just about edges out Gump, as does Secrets and Lies to the English Patient. Dancer in the Dark left me cold, as did Rosetta, so gonna go with Gladiator and American Beauty. Also much preferred The Departed to Wind That Shakes The Barley, pointlessly-tacked-on last scene notwithstanding. Silence of the Lambs and Fahrenheit 911 narrowly win their years, so 4-all in total.

    Hey, that WAS fun.

  4. I make it five to the Oscars and four to Cannes, with several years where I wouldn’t have voted for either. But as a variation on the pub game, how many couldn’t be sat though again? There are three on the Oscars list that imediately qualify. Did Bravheart really win it that year, or was there some mass amnesia that affected us all?

  5. Pingback: And the winners are … « unreceivedopinion

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