The real stars of Cannes

Forget the Palme d'Or – the real action has been at the parties, premieres and press conferences. And there have been some award-winning performances

Biggest rebel: SEAN PENN

When festival organisers asked Sean Penn to be president of this year's jury at Cannes, they would have done well to factor in his famously unruly temperament.

Penn, never a stranger to controversy, had insisted he would stay "wise and sober", but then casually "lit-up" in his first official appearance as president to open the festival.

The act might not have been incendiary had he not been flouting a smoking ban in front of the world's cameras. Penn vented his spleen in defence of bringing politics into a film festival.

"When we select the Palme d'Or winner, I think we are going to feel very confident that the film-maker who made the film is very aware of the times in which he or she lives." Rock on.

Cringiest press conference: PENELOPE CRUZ

The stars smile, the cameras flash and massed ranks of the world's media launch a charm offensive to get that vital quote. But sometimes relations can turn a little bit sour.

There was no more uncomfortable moment this year than the icy confrontation at the briefing of Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which features a smouldering ménage-a-trois between Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson. Cruz was asked to describe the quality of her "lesbian kiss" with Johansson. After a short, stony silence, she answered curtly: "I've been asked about this three times today and I have no answer to this question."

Red carpet queen: Angelina Jolie

She was competing with the impossibly glamorous Cate Blanchett and Penelope Cruz, but it was Angelina Jolie, complete with baby bump, who stole the limelight at the festival.

Appearing on the red carpet twice – once for the animated children's film, Kung Fu Panda and later for Clint Eastwood's drama, Changeling, she stylishly dealt with questions which ranged from the challenges of her film roles to life with Brad. The actress, 32, arrived at the first premiere in a floor-length green evening gown. Even sensible "pregnancy" shoes could not shake her pole position as Cannes' most enchanting woman.

Most lavish floater: DENNIS HOPPER

There's nowhere quite like the French Riviera to go yacht-spotting, Even when Hollywood's finest aren't camped out here. At this time of year, they have the place blockaded.

Lurking around like a personal aircraft carrier was Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's 413ft yacht Octopus. And Alberta Ferretti's party for the Steven Soderbergh film Che, on the yacht Prometej, pulled in the stars. Elsewhere, Margherita Missoni held a bash on the Pegasus yacht in Cannes' old port that drew Mischa Barton, Goldie Hawn, Jade Jagger, Natalie Imbruglia and Harvey Weinstein.

But the king of the offshore party people was Dennis Hopper. For his 72nd birthday a dance floor was erected on a yacht's helipad off Carlton Beach and the London-based DJ Max Chipchase flew in to entertain Hopper and 30 friends. It was "French jazz and Brazilian bossa all evening", said a source. Easy rider rules the waves.

Most shameless self-promotion: Toby Young

We had Jack Black parading along the pier alongside 40 people in giant panda suits to promote Kung Fu Panda. And the Russian pop group tATu took to the beach in matching micro-minis. Yet it is Toby Young who lifts the golden palm for making the most noise about himself.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which stars Simon Pegg, is loosely based on Young's book about his disastrous stint at Vanity Fair magazine.

Young said he would have preferred a more illustrious star than Pegg, pictured here, to have been cast in the lead role. "I was disappointed to get Simon Pegg playing me – I was thinking I'd get someone bigger," he said.

Pegg replied: "If there's one defining feature of Toby Young, it's just the continual self-promotion."

Young insisted his words had been "ironic", and that he had been misquoted. Then he wrote a column about the incident in The Spectator.

Maximum exposure sought.

Most memorable dress: Eva Longoria

Few fashion disasters can compare with the Icelandic singer Bjork's swan dress which came with an oversized egg when she wore it to the Academy Awards in 2001. That found almost universal derision and has become the stuff of celebrity legend. There were those who said nothing quite so bizarre would ever grace the red carpet again.

Well, this year at Cannes a challenger emerged. Yes, Eva Longoria turned up in a netted white dress that led to some observers describing it as a wedding meringue.

Not everyone was so scathing, however, and the fashion-watchers were left divided. Some of the kinder critics commended her outfit for originality.But Cannes is nothing if not competitive and Longoria's frock will no doubt have had more than a few screen rivals smirking about her "swan's egg moment".

Best 'charidy' moment: Madonna

Madonna's presence in Cannes delivered not just one precious charity moment but multiple "good causes". First came the screening of her new documentary, I Am Because We Are, which aims to raise awareness of children orphaned by Aids in Malawi. Then it was on to host the fundraising gala extravaganza for amfAR, the Foundation for Aids Research. Madonna said: "To say that this is a labour of love is true, but that's kind of trivial because really what it is, is a journey of a lifetime." And yes folks, they're doing it all for the kids.

Dampest squib: Indiana Jones party

If it's Cannes it must be mega-champagne receptions and high-octane parties all the way, right? Wrong. Of course there have been the big bashes you might expect, such as that thrown by Vanity Fair at Eden Roc.

But there were let-downs. Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon, for instance, were reportedly turned away from the Soho House party.

The ultimate damp squib, though, came in the shape of celebrations for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Perhaps mindful of the atrocious publicity which greeted the 2006 premiere of The Da Vinci Code after a lavish party, Paramount Pictures downgraded plans for the Indiana Jones launch. A mere 250 people – minuscule by Cannes standards – got an invite. Rather lacking in fizz.

Most candid quote: Woody Allen

At Cannes they speak from the heart. Oh yes, the celebs owned up about hopes, aspirations and disappointments. For instance we had Cate Blanchett telling us that she had actually been gunning for the lead male role in Indiana Jones – after all she played Bob Dylan in I'm Not There.

Meanwhile, Woody Allen, again on the subject of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and its enactment of a middle-aged man's lesbian fantasy, revealed: "It's hard enough trying to get one person interested and figuring out your feelings."

Topping the lot was Gwyneth Paltrow, who feared not being able to return to films after having her second child.

She said: "I didn't know if there would be a place for me. There's always someone younger or prettier or hotter."

Biggest cry-baby: Steven Spielberg

Sometimes it just all gets a bit much. Steven Spielberg had last made a trip to the French Riviera 26 years ago with ET so it was hardly surprising that the rousing reception he received at the world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull left him a little emotional. Fans had gathered on the red carpet outside the Grand Theatre Lumiere to welcome the director. But he temporarily absented himself after becoming "overwhelmed" by the queues.

The film's 65-year-old star, Harrison Ford, meanwhile, spoke gushingly about his co-star. With a slight tremble of his lips, he described being reunited with Karen Allen, who appeared in the first of the Indiana Jones series. A moment to tug at the heartstrings.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
TVDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
Arts and Entertainment
Laugh a minute: Steph Parker with Nigel Farage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Comic Ivor Dembina has staged his ‘Traditional Jewish Xmas Eve Show’ for the past 20 years; the JNF UK charity is linked to the Jewish National Fund, set up to fund Jewish people buying land in Palestinian territories
comedy

Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?