What to Watch For at the Cannes Film Festival

The glamorous festival features films competing for prizes and international attention.

Members of the Cannes jury from left, Christoph Waltz, Vidya Balan, Daniel Auteuil, Nicole Kidman, president Steven Spielberg, and Ang Lee at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, France.

Members of the Cannes jury from left, Christoph Waltz, Vidya Balan, Daniel Auteuil, Nicole Kidman, president Steven Spielberg, and Ang Lee at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, France.

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Perhaps the most glamorous of all the film festivals, the Cannes Film Festival, hosted in the beautiful French Riviera, kicks off Wednesday. Dozens of films will be screened – many for the first time – as they compete for prizes and international attention.

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Twenty films hailing from across the world are in the running for the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or (The Golden Palm). Eighteen more are being considered for Un Certain Regard – which recognizes films that are original and different. The Cannes jury will also being awarding films for acting, directing and screenplay. Here are some of the films to watch for, many of which will be hitting U.S. theaters soon.

"Only God Forgives"

Ryan Gosling stars in this Bangkok-set crime thriller, which also featuring Kristin Scott Thomas. Gosling reunites with "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn. Premiering at Cannes, it is up for the Palme d'Or and is slated to hit theaters July 19.

"Inside Llewyn Davis"

The Coen brothers directed this film about a Bob Dylan-like folk singer struggling to make it in the 1960s New York music scene. Oscar Isaac stars with Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Adam Driver and Alex Karpovsky. It is competing for the Palme d'Or and will come out in theaters this fall.

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"Nebraska"

Bruce Dern and Will Forte play father and son on a road trip from Montana to Nebraska to collect a Publishers Clearing House prize. Alexander Payne, of "The Descendents," "About Schmidt" and "Sideways," directs the black-and-white film. It is set to come out later this year after competing for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

"Behind the Candelabra"

Michael Douglas stars as the flamboyant pianist, Liberace, and Matt Damon his younger lover in this Steven Soderbergh-directed film. Rob Lowe and Dan Aykroyd join the cast. The film premieres at Cannes and is up for the Palme d'Or, but you won't have to wait long to see it: "Behind the Candelabra" debuts on HBO May 26.

"Only Lovers Left Alive"

Tilda Swinton is as a vampire in a love affair that spans centuries – need we say more? Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska join the cast. It is competing for the Palme d'Or and comes out in theaters in December.

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"The Immigrant"

Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner and Joaquin Phoenix star in this story of immigrants in 1920s New York. It is considered a strong contender for the Palme d'Or, but no U.S. release dates have been set.

"As I Lay Dying"

James Franco stars and directs this adaptation of the William Faulkner novel. Competing at Cannes in Un Certain Regard, the film has yet to set a U.S. release date.

"The Bling Ring"

Emma Watson plays an L.A. teen who robs the homes of celebrities with her friends. Sofia Coppola directs the film, which is based on true events. It is being considered at Cannes in Un Certain Regard and hits theaters June 14.

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"All Is Lost"

Featuring Robert Redford in a solo performance, "All Is Lost" is the story of a man lost in the Indian Ocean. It's not up for any awards at Cannes, but is expected to be released October 25.

"Seduced and Abandoned"

A film about filmmaking, this James Toback documentary includes Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Bernardo Bertolucci and Roman Polanski discussing the challenge of making movies. It is being featured at Cannes as a special screening and has already been picked up by HBO.

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