Originally posted on Variety:
Steven Spielberg’s jury will have no shortage of Hollywood talent to sift through on the Croisette this year. Heralding a strong showing for American auteurs, Palme d’Or laureates Steven Soderbergh and Joel and Ethan Coen will square off with Alexander Payne and James Gray at the star-packed 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, announced by delegate general Thierry Fremaux and president Gilles Jacob at a Paris press conference on Thursday.
In light of earlier announcements – that Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” would open the festival, that Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” would kick off Un Certain Regard, and that Spielberg would serve as president of the main competition jury – it comes as little surprise that this year’s lineup is so top-heavy with U.S. and English-language fare, even as it reflects healthy strains of international filmmaking, especially from Europe and Asia.
The Coen brothers, previously in competition with 2007’s “No Country for Old Men,” will make a return appearance with “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a look at New York’s ’60s folk-music scene starring Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake. Payne, last in Cannes with “About Schmidt,” will return with another road-trip comedy, “Nebraska,” starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte and set in the writer-director’s native Omaha. Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard star in Gray’s 1920s-set drama “The Immigrant,” which previously went by the titles “Lowlife” and “Nightingale.”