Cannes 2015: The winners and losers

Story highlights

  • "Carol," Cate Blanchett and the "boo boys"
  • What are this year's Cannes Film Festival's feats and flops?

Cannes, France (CNN)Comeback stars, the darlings of the festival, standing ovations and incessant booing: the Festival de Cannes has delivered entertainment on and off screen for an astounding 67 years.

French filmmaker Jacques Audiard took home the Palme d'Or for "Dheepan," a crime drama about a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France.
    Silver -- the Grand Prix award -- went to Laszlo Nemes' "Son of Saul." And the award considered the third prize of the film festival, the Prix Du Jury, was won by Yorgos Lanthimos for "The Lobster."
    These were the top award winners, though they don't tell the whole story of the festival.
    What are this year's success stories and who is left longing for a better ending? Here's a run through of the frontrunners and the fiascoes:

    The winners:

    Todd Haynes' movie about two American women in love during the 1950s was a huge hit with critics and set the benchmark for the festival early in the program. Regardless of its success at Cannes, critics here have been talking breathlessly about a raft of Academy Awards come Oscar time next year.
    Cate Blanchett
    Fast becoming the next Meryl Streep, Australian actress Cate Blanchett is enjoying a purple patch in her career. Many here expect her to follow her Oscar-winning role in "Blue Jasmine" with another win for her performance in "Carol." Beyond the movie, her appearance at the film's press conference in Cannes revealed an assured, eloquent woman fielding questions about her personal and professional life with wisdom and humor.
    Cannes: Is Golden Palm the greatest award in film?
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      Cannes: Is Golden Palm the greatest award in film?


    Cannes: Is Golden Palm the greatest award in film? 02:42
    'Mad Max' and 'Inside Out'
    Two of the best-received movies during the Cannes fortnight weren't even in the competition. "Mad Max" showed "Marvel Avengers" that you don't need CGI (computer-generated imagery) and green screen to create a thrilling, jaw-dropping action film. And Pixar's Pete Docter -- whose Oscar-winning animated epic "Up" opened the 2009 Cannes festival -- returned to even greater acclaim with "Inside Out," a charming and hilarious depiction of a testing chapter in a young girl's life seen through the emotions inside her mind.
    'Rams' trumps 'Lamb'
    Uber test-flies 'Uberchopper' at Cannes
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      Uber test-flies 'Uberchopper' at Cannes


    Uber test-flies 'Uberchopper' at Cannes 02:47
    Ethiopia's first ever entry into the Cannes competition came courtesy of director Yared Zeleke. "Lamb" was an engaging tale of a young boy seeking enterprising ways to save his fleecy friend. But it lost out to "Rams" by Icelandic director Grimur Hakonarson, who took the top prize in the "Un Certain Regard" section with a tale of two elderly brothers whose 40-year dispute is reluctantly put on hold by a threat to their sheep farms.

    The losers:

    'Boo boys'
    Gus Van Sant has long been a Cannes favorite, winning the Palme d'Or in 2003 with his film "Elephant." But Cannes can make and break reputations and his latest film, "Sea of Trees," was roundly panned by critics here -- booed at the press screening and barracked in the reviews that followed. The film features Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe pontificating about life in a forest where people go to die. One particularly barbed commentator suggested the film was the worst ever to feature in the main competition.
    The Cannes audience is notoriously vocal -- equally capable of delivering a 15-minute standing ovation or walking out after the first 15 minutes of a film. They applaud the festival logo which appears before each screening. And during the opening credits of "Inside Out" they booed Disney and cheered Pixar. One particularly offended critic stormed out of a screening shouting "F**k you and your slow movie!"
    'Mad Max' thrills critics at Cannes Film Festival
    'Mad Max' thrills critics at Cannes Film Festival


      'Mad Max' thrills critics at Cannes Film Festival


    'Mad Max' thrills critics at Cannes Film Festival 02:51
    The naysayers wield a disproportionate amount of influence as a handful of people booing among a largely appreciative audience leads critics to write the damning words "mixed reception."
    The opposing crowd are called "boo boys" -- but why "boys?" Well, the voices of derision in the dark have always seemed to be male.
    The media camped at Cannes had a field day with this scandal. The story was broken by Screen Daily, which reported that a number of women had been turned away from the movie "Carol" for wearing flat shoes instead of high heels. Documentary director Asif Kapadia (whose film "Amy" about the late singer Amy Winehouse was a big hit at the festival) revealed his wife had also been challenged about her footwear, but was eventually admitted.
    The story spread like wildfire on traditional and social media, with many citing the festival's dress policy and low number of female directors in competition as evidence of sexism. "Not so," responded festival director Thierry Fremaux, who explained that women were expected to don evening dress and the policing of heel height lay at the feet of one overzealous security official. And if the media wanted signs of sexism, he suggested they begin by looking at the Oscars.
    Emily Blunt told a press conference she would prefer to walk the carpet in Converse sneakers -- but at the premiere of her film "Sicario" a few hours later, she wowed the paparazzi in a long shiny dress offset by a pair of high, shiny heels.
    No selfie-sticks
    A growing number of festivals, museums and visitor attractions are banning the selfie-stick, and Cannes entered the debate from the outset when Fremaux announced a campaign to discourage selfies on the red carpet, describing the practice as "grotesque."
    But his words fell on deaf ears as the stars ignored the advice and couldn't resist the temptation to document their moment on the famous Cannes catwalk. On one night alone, there were more than 100 offenders.
    Not to be
    While many critics lavished praise on Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard for their performances in "Macbeth," the titular Scottish titan mumbled the Bard's lines so much that English speakers complained they were forced to read the French subtitles to understand what he was saying. And Shakespeare took a hit in the opening credits, relegated to fourth place behind the film's three screenwriters.
    For anyone who's had a film ruined by constant chatter emanating from somewhere nearby in the darkness, the "shushers" can be regarded as heroes. If you wander about during movies, check your mobile phone and have a good old natter about what's happening on-screen, Cannes is not for you. Any murmur is quickly cut short by a determined "Shhhhhh!" One unfortunate soul had the temerity to sneeze during one slow-paced film and was met by an immediate wall of shushing.