Before the 2019 Cannes Film Festival lineup was announced today, many film buffs had been holding their breath in anticipation of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiere at the festival, where the film’s lead actors Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie would make the carpet as star-studded as it could possibly be.
Other cinephiles on Twitter speculated that Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation might swoop in and take Tarantino’s spot. Now the official selection has been revealed, and—in a plot twist—the names Gerwig and Tarantino do not appear on the list.
In March, it was reported by IndieWire that Tarantino was scrambling to finish final edits for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood so that it could premiere at the Festival de Cannes in May, but the film is not finished and will premiere on July 26 as planned. Had Once Upon a Time in Hollywood been ready for a Cannes premiere this spring, it would have been a reunion of sorts for Tarantino: His film Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or in 1994, and the last time he took a film to Cannes was 10 years ago, when Christoph Waltz took home the best actor prize for Inglourious Basterds.
This year, Pedro Almodóvar, Bong Joon Ho, Xavier Dolan, Céline Sciamma, and Terence Malick will screen films at the competition. There will also be a special screening of Family Romance, by Werner Herzog.
It should be noted that there are no Netflix films in the lineup. For the second year in a row, the streaming platform has removed itself from the festival after two of its films, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, competed in 2017 and brought a bit of controversy to the south of France. If Cannes can’t handle a contemporary invention like selfies on the red carpet, then it should not be a surprise that a streaming platform that allows viewers to watch films on a small screen would cause a stir.
Perhaps the film that will bring the same caliber and number of Hollywood stars to the carpet as a Tarantino premiere would have is Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, a zombie apocalypse comedy starring Selena Gomez, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, and Luka Sabbat.
And to fill that summer-blockbuster-size space left by the lack of a Tarantino film, there will be a screening of Rocketman, Dexter Fletcher’s highly anticipated Elton John biopic. The only catch is that it won’t be screened in competition, but at least the film will be completely finished by the time the festival rolls around.