FASHION CRITIC: Fashion will be at the heart of next month’s Cannes Film Festival, and not just on the red carpet. Rumor has it French designer Jean Paul Gaultier will sit on the jury headed by Italian director Nanni Moretti, though festival president Gilles Jacob is saving the announcement for next week. “I can’t confirm it, but I am not denying it either,” Jacob told WWD on the sidelines of a press conference announcing the official selection of movies in competition at the 65th edition of the festival, scheduled to run May 16 to 27.


American movies will take center stage, with six U.S. productions in competition for the coveted Palme d’Or award. “American cinema is back in force,” said the festival’s artistic director Thierry Frémaux. The event will open with Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” starring Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton. The official selection also includes Lee Daniels’ follow-up to “Precious,” a drama starring Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman titled “The Paperboy.” Jeff Nichols will be fielding “Mud,” a story set in Mississippi featuring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey. Several of the U.S. entries are directed by foreigners. Australia’s John Hillcoat helms “Lawless,” a Depression-era drama scripted by rocker Nick Cave and starring Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska. New Zealander Andrew Dominik directs Brad Pitt in the thriller “Killing Them Softly,” and Brazilian Walter Salles has taken on the film adaptation of “On the Road,” with Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst, among others. Stewart will likely be joined on the red carpet by her “Twilight” co-star and real-life beau Robert Pattinson, who is also in competition with “Cosmopolis,” by Canadian director David Cronenberg. Organizers said “The Artist” star Bérénice Bejo would be the mistress of ceremonies on opening and closing night, confirming a report on on Tuesday.


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