McConaughey also appears in "The Paperboy," which features an attention-grabbing performance from Kidman as a sultry femme fatale. It could win her an Oscar nomination, and there could also be one for Marion Cotillard's intense performance as a killer whale trainer who has a tragic workplace accident in "Rust and Bone."
And there's likely to be a solid audience for "Killing Them Softly," a taut, 1970s-style crime thriller that sees Pitt play cynical straight man to some outstanding character acting from the likes of James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta.
Cannes is a strange blend of high-art seriousness and Hollywood chutzpah, where the latest Haneke masterwork coexists with Sacha Baron Cohen riding a camel down the seaside Croisette as "The Dictator."
Even for showbiz veterans, it can be a remarkable experience, as McConaughey discovered at the gala premiere of "The Paperboy."
"It got a wonderful ovation and I've never experienced that," he said. "I've never done stage, and so I've never really experienced an immediate response live like that. It was nice to take a breath and say, 'Feel this. Feel this, McConaughey. This is a special, once-in-a-lifetime thing.'"
Associated Press Writer Thomas Adamson contributed to this report.
Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless