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Cannes 2024 Triumphs: Shaping the Race to the Oscars 2025

Cannes often serves as the launchpad for films that will dominate the awards circuit in the months to come. The 77th Cannes Film Festival, presided over by jury president Greta Gerwig, crowned Sean Baker’s film *Anora* with the Palme d’Or. As the festival closed its curtains, it not only celebrated the brilliance of this year’s winners but also set the stage for early prognostications regarding their paths towards the 2025 Oscars.

The influence of Cannes extends beyond mere awards; it shapes the narrative of the film year, providing a preview of the thematic and stylistic trends that will dominate discussions. This year’s winners, with their diverse stories and unique voices, reflect a broader push towards inclusivity and innovation in cinema. Whether these films will convert their festival victories into Oscar gold remains to be seen, but history and the current cultural climate suggest a promising road ahead.

Historically, Cannes has been a reliable predictor of Oscar success, with Palme d’Or winners amassing 143 Academy Award nominations and 33 wins since the prize’s inception in 1955. Sean Baker’s *Anora*, distributed by Neon, stands at the forefront of this discussion. Neon has been enjoying an eerily prophetic streak at Cannes, and *Anora* follows in the footsteps of *Parasite* (2019), *Titane* (2021), *Triangle of Sadness* (2022), and *Anatomy of a Fall* (2023). With the win, Neon has achieved an unprecedented five consecutive Palme d’Or victories.

This track record bodes well for *Anora’s* Oscar campaign, as three of the last four Neon-distributed Cannes winners received Best Picture nominations at the Oscars. Last year, Justine Triet’s *Anatomy of a Fall* was nominated in five categories at the Oscars 2024: Best Director for Justine Triet, Best Actress in a Leading Role for Sandra Hüller, Best Original Screenplay for Justine Triet and Arthur Harari, Best Editing, and Best Picture; of which it won Best Original Screenplay. *Parasite* not only won the Palme d’Or but also made history by clinching Best Picture at the Oscars, the first film to do so since *Marty* in 1955.

Neon’s strategic acumen in leveraging Cannes wins for Oscar campaigns cannot be overstated. With both *Anora* and *The Seed of the Sacred Fig* under its belt, the distributor is well-positioned to repeat its previous success. *Anora* seems poised to secure nominations in several categories, including Best Picture and potentially Best Actress for Mikey Madison.

The Grand Prix win of Payal Kapadia’s *All We Imagine as Light* marked a significant milestone for Indian cinema. It is the first Indian film in 30 years to compete in Cannes’ main competition and the first Indian female-directed film to do so. Historically, the Grand Prix has been a reliable indicator of Oscar potential. Seventeen Grand Prix winners have earned 35 Oscar nominations, with seven films securing ten wins. For instance, Jonathan Glazer’s *The Zone of Interest*, last year’s Grand Prix winner, received five Oscar nominations, winning Best International Feature and Best Sound.

Given this precedent, Kapadia’s film stands a strong chance in the Best International Feature Film category.

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. The film is a prime candidate for India’s submission for the Best International Feature Film category, and the Grand Prix win positions it as a serious contender at the Oscars.

Jacques Audiard’s *Emilia Pérez*, awarded the Jury Prize, explores gender identity and a trans narrative led by Karla Sofía Gascón’s standout performance. While the Jury Prize does not always correlate with Oscar success, winners have still amassed 39 Oscar nominations and nine wins. *Emilia Pérez* could potentially break the mold with its strong ensemble cast, which also includes Zoe Saldaña and Selena Gomez, with possible acting nominations for them. The film might resonate with the Academy’s evolving sensibilities towards diversity and representation, and may be positioned as Mexico’s official submission at the Oscars next year.

The Best Director prize went to Miguel Gomes for *Grand Tour*, a romantic drama. While only seven Cannes Best Director winners have been nominated for an Oscar, the quality and scope of Gomes’ storytelling might earn him a spot among the nominees. Past winners in this category, such as Alejandro González Iñárritu for *Babel* (2006) and Joel Coen for *Fargo* (1996), have seen significant Oscar success, suggesting Gomes might similarly break through.

Coralie Fargeat’s *The Substance*, which won Best Screenplay, presents another Oscar contender. Cannes’ Best Screenplay winners have seen increased recognition at the Oscars recently, with Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s *Drive My Car* (2021) earning nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and winning Best International Feature. Fargeat’s screenplay, starring Demi Moore, Margaret Qualley, and Dennis Quaid, stands a strong chance in the Original Screenplay category at the Oscars next year.

Jesse Plemons’ Best Actor win for *Kinds of Kindness* positions him as an early Oscar contender. Historically, sixteen winners of the Best Actor award at Cannes have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations. Plemons, who was previously nominated for *The Power of the Dog* (2021), showcases his versatility in Yorgos Lanthimos’ film, portraying various characters across three vignettes. Lanthimos’ recent films have been successful at the Oscars, with 2018’s *The Favourite* and last year’s *Poor Things*, both winning Best Actress and securing multiple nominations. Plemons’ performance could thus follow a similar trajectory, leading to his second Oscar nomination.

Mohammad Rasoulof’s *The Seed of the Sacred Fig*, awarded a Special Prize, faces a challenging path to the Oscars. Historically, films receiving special mentions at Cannes have had limited success at the Oscars. However, Rasoulof’s harrowing personal story of filming under oppressive conditions in Iran is a compelling backstory that could sway Academy voters, as seen with Michael Moore’s *Bowling for Columbine* (2002), which won the 55th Anniversary Prize at Cannes and later the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

As the dust settles on another remarkable Cannes Film Festival, the film industry now turns its gaze to the Oscars in 2025. Will these Cannes standouts maintain their momentum, or will new contenders emerge on cinema’s grandest stage? The journey to Oscar gold is fraught with uncertainty, but one thing is clear: the films that debuted on the French Riviera are poised to make a significant impact in the coming awards season. The stories, performances, and innovative storytelling celebrated at Cannes this year will undoubtedly shape and enrich the narrative of the 2025 Oscars.