The most buzzed-about performances at Cannes

May 25, 2014 - 5:04 AM
France Cannes Foxcatcher Photo Call

Actor Steve Carell poses for photographers during a photo call for Foxcatcher at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

CANNES, France (AP) — The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival featured a number of remarkable performances, many of them from big-name stars. These were among the actors that had Cannes buzzing:

— Steve Carell: It was an open question which star of Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" turned in the most impressive performance. There's Channing Tatum as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, a physically potent but emotionally stunted man. And as his older sibling and mentor, Mark Ruffalo's brotherly physicality is also essential. But Carell, with a prosthetic nose and grayed hair, was the one to cause the biggest stir at Cannes for his dramatic turn as the creepy multi-millionaire John du Pont who's obsessed with the other two.

— Kristen Stewart: There's a clever irony to casting one of the most famous American actresses as the assistant to a European star, played by Juliette Binoche. But in Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria," Stewart does more than wink at her fame. She's natural and intelligent in a way she hasn't been perhaps since the 2009 "Adventureland."

— Timothy Spall: Great artists have often been given majestic big-screen incarnations. In Mike Leigh's biopic of British master J.M.W. Turner, Spall takes another route. His Turner is a humble, grunting worker whose grand artistry is hidden beneath his gruff manner.

— Marion Cotillard: The Dardenne brothers have never before cast a major star as a protagonist, but they said they were smitten by Cotillard after a brief encounter. In their "Two Days, One Night," Cotillard proved (to most, although not all) that her stardom didn't interfere in telling a story about a working class woman trying to convince her co-workers to vote against a raise that will eliminate her job.

— Robert Pattinson: The former "Twilight" star is beginning to put his teen heartthrob past behind him, and the early returns are encouraging. Along with a supporting role in David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars," Pattinson impressed as Guy Pearce's bloodied, not-all-there companion in David Michod's Australian thriller "The Rover."

— Evan Bird: "Maps to the Stars," a midnight dark satire of Hollywood, offers up a lot of choice parts. Most notable is Julianne Moore as a star actress terrified that her status is slipping. But the 14-year-old Evan Bird breaks out playing a Justin Bieber-like child star with an ego far greater than his years.

— There were others, too. The Italian family drama "The Wonders" was impossible to imagine without the gentle presence of the young Maria Alexandra Lungu. Alexey Serebryakov enlivened the Russian tragedy "Leviathan" with vodka-swilling fury. Ibrahim Ahmed rooted the Turkish "Winter Tale" with uncommon gravity. Jean-Luc Godard's dog also took a bite out of Cannes — stealing the show in the French master's 3-D "Goodbye to Language."

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle