Cannes is always the busiest time of year for film production companies looking to acquire potential players for this year’s awards season. This year, it’s David vs. Goliath in terms of Palme d’Or contention, with both Netflix and Neon going for gold and acquiring some of the buzziest titles.

One such title is “Emilia Perez,” which was picked up by Netflix yesterday for the eye-watering sum of $12 million. The film stars Selna Gomez and Zoe Saldana and is the latest effort from Jacques Audiard, who has a history at the Cannes award. His 2015 film “Dheepan” won the Palme d’Or, whilst his 2010 film “A Prophet” went on to win the Grand Prix. The film is about a lawyer who begins working with a cartel leader undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Whilst it may only stand at a 70 on Metacritic, it has certainly become one of the most discussed of the fest. The musical was pegged by Peter Bradshaw to take away the coveted prize.

The film will face steep competition from Neon, looking to maintain its four-year streak with the Palme dOr (Anatomy of a Fall, the Triangle of Sadness, Titane, Parasite). Alongside their purchase of “Sentimental Value,” the reuniting of “The Worst Person in the World”’s Joachin Trier and Renet Reinsve, “The Monkey,” a Stephen King Adaptation from “Longlegs” directed by Osgood Perkins that stars Theo James, Tatiana Maslany, and Elijah Wood, and “The Unknown” directed by Arthur Harari who co-wrote the screenplay for last year’s Palme-winner “Anatomy of a Fall,” have also added in competition titles “Anora” and “The Seed of the Sacred Fig” to their roster.

Anora” has been an undeniable festival breakout. It is one of the most critically acclaimed titles to premiere and the latest from indie darling director Sean Baker. Mikey Madison is already being tipped for awards potential as the eponymous Anora, a young sex worker who marries the son of a Russian oligarch, played by Mark Eydelshteyn. The film picked up a rating of 89 on Metacritic, thus putting it in good standing for the upcoming festival awards.

The Seed of the Sacred Fig,” meanwhile, is shrouded in intrigue. Director Mohammad Rasoulof was present for the film’s premiere despite having to flee Iran to do so. This is because the film is critical of the theocratic system that dominates the political landscape of the country, meaning the film had to be covertly made without the Iranian authorities knowing. Rasoulof appeared on the red carpet to rapturous applause. Whilst no Metacritic score is out as of yet, it is expected to be one of the highest of the festival.

Mubi is in with an outside shot. In addition to acquiring Andrea Arnold’s latest feature, “Bird,” starring Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski, in the opening days of the festival, they have picked up “The Girl with the Needle.” This is from Swedish director Magnus von Horn. It is a true story about a Danish serial killer. The film bagged an 82 on Metacritic with positive ratings across the board.

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