June 11, 2012 12:00 PM

CANNES MOVIE BUZZ STARS’ WILD NEW ROLES

A-listers got down and dirty this year, earning raves and courting controversy. Nicole Kidman dropped jaws as an uninhibited Southern sexpot in The Paperboy, a thriller about a death-row case with Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey. Brad Pitt also wowed many critics with his violent turn as a gangster with plenty to say about capitalism in Killing Them Softly, while Kristen Stewart (On the Road) and Robert Pattinson (Cosmopolis) also won acclaim for edgy roles. Footage from Quentin Tarantino’s slave revenge film Django Unchained, with Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, promised a wild ride. But the jury voted with their hearts, awarding the Palme d’Or to Amour, director Michael Haneke’s wrenching take on an elderly couple (veteran French actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) struggling to cope after the wife suffers a series of strokes. (For more on Cannes, see page 60.)

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