Every year at the Cannes Film Festival, the Jury awards the Palme d’Or to the director of the best feature film in competition. Steven Spielberg is the President of this year’s Feature Film jury, composed of nine industry members from around the globe.

Of the 20 competition films, four are American. The Immigrant, directed by Cannes favorite James Gray, who has had four films in competition in the last 13 years and has another film, Blood Ties, being shown at the Festival out of competition. Though he has always left the Cannes Film Festival empty handed, this French co-production starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner could do the trick.

Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace movie – airing May 26 on HBO – has a chance at taking home the Palme d’Or if for no other reason than the possibility of this being Soderbergh’s last film before retirement. Soderbergh already won the prize in 1989 for his breakout film Sex, Lies & Videotape.

Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, a black and white film about a father and son road-trip, is a definite contender in the competition. Payne’s last film, The Descendents (2011), was a huge hit and won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. The film is sure to stand out in the competition visually, and stars Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte. That said, the American film with the most buzz is Inside Llewyn Davis, a period film about musicians in the 60s, directed by Ethan and Joel Coen. The film has an incredibly cast, including Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, John Goodman and Justin Timberlake.

Other high-profile contenders include director Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, staring Ryan Gosling; and Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur. Winding Refn’s previous collaboration with Gosling, Drive (2011), won him the Cannes award for Best Director, while Polanski won the Palme d’Or in 2002 for The Pianist.

Perhaps one of the most anticipated films competing this year at the Cannes Film Festival is The Past. The film, about a Iranian-French couple that reunites in Paris to finalize their divorce, is Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s much-anticipated follow up to 2011’s A Separation. A Separation won Farhadi an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012; he was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay. The Past is Farhadi’s first film to be presented at the Cannes Film Festival.

Other films in the competition include Only Lovers Left Alive, a vampire movie from past Caméra d’Or winner Jim Jarmusch and Like Father, Like Son, a Japanese family drama directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu.

The winners will be announced on May 26, the last day of the Cannes Film Festival.

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