By Jacqueline Andriakos
May 14, 2015 04:50 PM

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Hollywood has landed in France — and PEOPLE is your passport!

PEOPLE.com will bring you all the behind-the-scenes scoop from the 68th Cannes International Film Festival, from the glamorous premieres to the hottest parties to the ultra-exclusive suites where stars get red-carpet ready.

To follow the festival from the very beginning, click here.

SUNDAY, MAY 24:

Fin!

The champagne’s been popped, the gowns have been twirled, poor French accents have been quietly mocked, and between it all, some fantastic films were debuted. And with the closing ceremonies coming to an end, some of cinema’s most prestigious prizes now have been awarded.

The 68th annual Cannes International Film Festival ended in a shocker, with the coveted Palm d’Or going to Jacques Audiard’s controversial Dheepan, a drama about an immigrant family of Sri Lankan refugees trying to make a life in Paris. The film was initially met with mixed reviews, and reportedly received from boos from the audience when it was crowned the winner.

Another surprise was Rooney Mara’s best actress win for Carol, an honor she shared with Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon Roi. The Grand Prix went to Son of Saul, directed by Laszlo Nemes, while best director went to Hou Hsiao-Hsien for The Assassin. A very emotional Vincent Lindon took home the prize for best actor for his work in the The Measure of a Man. And finally, best screenplay went to Chronic, written by Michel Franco and starring Tim Roth. The Jury Prize went to The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and Léa Seydoux.

And now the countdown to next year begins!

SATURDAY, MAY 23:

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With the second to last day of Cannes coming to an end, we’re now just hours away — depending on your time zone (and addition skills) — from the presentation of the coveted Palme d’Or. This morning kicked off on a grim note, with the premiere of Justin Kurzel’s gritty take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Michael Fassbender, starring in the titular role, and Marion Cotillard, playing his obsessive compulsive queen, transported audiences from the warmth of the French Riviera to the gloomy battlefields of mideval Scotland. The film was met with mostly positive reviews, with Peter Bradshaw applauding its “operatic verve,” while Screen Comment noted it was “not without gimmicks and over-dramatizations.” But as Lady Macbeth would say, “what’s done is done.”

Saturday also saw the premiere of stop-motion reimagining of the French children’s classic The Little Prince, which, despite its laundry list of famous voice (including Cotillard, Jeff Bridges, James Franco, and Rachel McAdams) has been largely overshadowed by Cannes’s other animated debut earlier this week – Pixar’s Inside Out. Nonetheless, The Little Prince received a mostly warm response from critics.

As for the big reveal tomorrow, Todd Hayne’s Carol continues to be a front-runner, with Cate Blanchett a favorite for the best actress prize. Her biggest competition seems to be coming from Chinese actress Zhao Tao for her highly praised performance in Mountains May Depart. Also leading the pack is Michel Franco’s drama Chronic, starring Tim Roth, and The Assassin, directed by Hou Hsaio-hsien.

FRIDAY, MAY 22:

Gisela Schober/Getty

Love was in the air at Cannes Friday.

Director Gaspar Noe managed to heat things up this morning, debuting for the press his controversial – and very very explicit – film, Love. Every seat in the Grand Theatre Lumiere was reportedly filled a half hour before the screening, with curious reporters tantalized by the movie’s sex scenes shot salaciously in 3D. While reviews have been lukewarm, the Enter the Void director’s latest effort was nonetheless the talk of the town.

The Mark Osborne-directed animated adaptation of the beloved French classic The Little Prince premiered this evening, with Marion Cotillard (above) stealing the red carpet in a baby blue Dior gown. But no sign of the film’s other famous voices, including Jeff Bridges, James Franco and Rachel McAdams.

Just one day left until the highly anticipated Macbeth premieres, featuring Cotillard and Michael Fassbender. That’s some sexy Shakespeare! Though (thank goodness) it’s not in 3D.

Gisela Schober/Getty

THURSDAY, MAY 21:

The amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is ruling the night at Cannes. Always the one of the most star-studded events at the festival, amfAR certainly didn’t disappoint this year. Fashion models are out in force, with Gigi Hadid (showing ample cleavage in a white hot Tom Ford dress) and Kendall Jenner (beautiful in a Calvin Klein top and skirt) stealing the show.

But what Cannes bash would be complete without Leonardo DiCaprio? Looking dapper (albeit a bit grizzly, sporting a beard) in a classic tux, the actor joins fellow Hollywood stars Marion Cotillard, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Natalie Portman at the gala. Producer Harvey Weinstein and Mary J. Blige are also said to be in attendance. To date, the famous charity fundraiser has collected more than $140 million for their research programs in the fight against AIDS.

Earlier in the day, PEOPLE caught up with co-chair Karlie Kloss as she relaxed in a L’Oreal suite (which she arranged to be Feng shui) before getting ready. She says, “I’m very excited. I remember last year when bids went to 11 million pounds. Now we have to top it!”

In a terrific mood, she says she travels light, even with major red carpets on the agenda. “I like carrying one small bag. I only have a few musts.”

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Dope had its first press screening today, and the word is strong for the Sundance hit, which is due out in June. Rumor has it one of the A-list producers will be dropping by the film’s big event tomorrow night (Diddy or Pharrell).

With only a few days of the fest left, it’s all about that coveted Palme d’Or. Carol still leads the pack, with Holocaust film Son of Saul right on its tail. Our other frontrunner picks from yesterday, The Lobster and Sicario, still hold strong, but another competitor deserves a shout-out: Macbeth!

The famed Shakespearean tragedy seems to be the last major contender yet to screen (it debuts Saturday). Director Justin Kurzel’s take on the classic stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard and was shot on location in Scotland and England. Could Macbeth slide in and win the Palme? We’ll find out soon enough.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20:

Rise and shine, A-listers! Last night was a party-filled evening in Cannes, and stars are up and at ’em for more red carpets, premieres and screenings.

Robino Salvatore/GC Images

Kendall Jenner was spotted early in the day taking in the Cannes atmosphere from a balcony at the Hotel Martinez with a glass of OJ in hand. The young model danced up a storm at the VIP Room last night with model buddies Hailey Baldwin and Josephine Skriver.

Fame Flynet

Wednesday was a Youth-filled afternoon, kicking off with the movie’s photo call and wrapping with the screening event in the evening. (Jenner popped up again looking as glam as ever in a statement black gown.)

Stars Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda dazzled in spring-ready ensembles at the morning photo op. Weisz brought the glitter to the carpet in a silver, long-sleeved minidress, while Fonda also opted for a little glitz in an all-white suit and sparkly scarf.

Also promoting the Paolo Sorrentino-directed film were stars Paul Dano, Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. The movie tells the story of a pair of old friends reflecting on their lives while on vacation in the Alps.

Clemens Bilan/WireImage

But it was Fonda who arguably stole the show on the Croisette again at the red carpet screening later on. She walked the carpet like the grand dame she is in a sensational gown by Schiaparelli Couture. Her stylist Tanya Gill told People one secret to red carpet glamour is to not wear heels that are too high for you. “Comfortable shoes. Why risk toppling over in five-inch platform heels? We always do a two-inch heel.” Onscreen, Fonda’s scene-stealing performance in Youth is getting raves, even with limited screen time.

Also making jaws drop (and hearts melt) on the Youth carpet? Newlyweds Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder! The married duo made a gorgeous post-wedding appearance, with Reed donning an elegant blue gown with a long train in the back. Somerhalder sported a classic black tux and his signature scruff. Let’s just say, they clean up nice.

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The festival is also nearing the finish line — and the film favorites for the highest festival honor the Palme d’Or award are starting to get some buzz. The Cate Blanchett-starrer Carol is tipped for glory, and the Oscar winner has a strong chance of snagging best actress for the dramatic role.

Another contender? Son of Saul. Géza Röhrig has been the talk of Cannes for his performance in the harrowing film about Jewish prisoners forced to work in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, in which Colin Farrell plays a man desperate to find a relationship for fear of being turned into an animal, is also a frontrunner. One critic described the sci-fi film as “spookily beautiful.” Crime thriller Sicario (Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin) also landed at the festival with positive reviews.

TUESDAY, MAY 19:

Day seven’s most anticipated and star-studded party, hosted by famed Swiss jeweler de Grisogono, is officially underway at the Hôtel du Cap. Model Karlie Kloss is already stealing the show – arriving to a roar of applause from the crowd and taking selfies with her fans. Never one to shy from the spotlight, Paris Hilton also broke the no-selfie rule and snapped pictures with onlookers. Famous exes Cara Delevingne and Michelle Rodriguez are both in attendance, although seated separtately. Delevingne has been busy making the rounds, and stopped by to chat with her friend Hailey Baldwin. Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke has also been mingling with the guests alongside his date April Love Geary. Natalie Portman, Adrien Brody, and Chris Tucker have all turned out to the party as well. Leonardo DiCaprio has yet to arrive, but is expected to turn up shortly — the last ingredient for a true blowout Cannes party!

Earlier in the evening, Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio del Toro celebrated the premier of their film Sicario after-party held at Baoli Beach. The stars arrived around 9:30PM to the bash, which featured refreshing Grey Goose, Saint Germain, Perrier and lime, and a full buffet — shrimp lo mein, couscous salad, chili and rice, meatballs, and penne with truffles. Rumor has it the celebs headed to an after-party on a private yacht (possibly to be joined by fellow Cannes star Cate Blanchett). Director Denis Villenueve arrived to the party accompanied by his three children.

In the afternoon, the first raindrops of the festival fell during the premiere of Sicario, which received a positive reception. Despite the weather, the stars were walking tall on the carpet (literally), after reports surfaced that women were being turned away from the festival’s famous stairs for wearing flats instead of heels. Festival director Thierry Fremaux responded to the rumors, and adamantly denied that heels are a requirement. Blunt, wearing a stunning Peter Pilotto dress and Jimmy Choo heels, reportedly weighed in on the controversy saying, “Everyone should wear flats to be honest. We shouldn’t be wearing high heels anyways.”

While Heelgate was seemingly put to rest, the women of Cannes have been speaking out about the need for equal footing in the male-dominated industry. At a private party hosted by Calvin Klein on Monday, Rachel Weisz told Reuters, women are “just very disproportionately represented in terms of directors and writers – people in charge of the story-telling. So we just need more films from women’s point of view,” she added.

David M. Benett/Getty

Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio and Paris Hilton battled it out at the Heart Fund’s Generous People Dinner Gala Monday night, bidding on a pricey Chanel purse at the InterContinental Carlton. DiCaprio walked away victorious, snagging the designer bag reportedly worth more than $10,000 for his mother, Irmelin.

Biggest “What Is Happening?” Moment: Robin Thicke’s surprise performance at the de Grisogono bash, complete with dancing robots on stilts

Cutest Group Photo: These three, because seeing dogs at Cannes never gets old

Biggest Paparazzi Frenzy: Cara Delevingne’s arrival at the de Grisogono bash

MONDAY, MAY 18:

Day Six! And seemingly all of Cannes throbbed to the beat of Euro-disco at the Carlton Hotel pier party for Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out. The animated movie was a huge festival hit — some critics have called it the best Pixar creation since Up — and stars Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black and Phyllis Smith made the climb up the red carpeted steps of the Palais.

The American stars were given a warm welcome, but it was the young actors who voiced the French version of the movie — including Charlotte LeBon, last seen in the foodie film The Hundred Foot Journey with Helen Mirren — who were mobbed by local fans. All of the stars hit the pier with 1,000 other guests to enjoy house music, fireworks and quite possibly the only hot dogs in Cannes.

In a villa in the hills above the resort city, Calvin Klein and IFP hosted a stylish celebration that drew Emily Blunt, Rachel Weisz, Kat Graham and festival jury member Sienna Miller among other stars. “This feels so chill compared to the premiere carpet!” Miller told PEOPLE at the party.

Regis David M. Benett/Getty


But the most chill star of all was Isabella Rossellini, who came to Cannes to preside over the festival’s Un Certain Regard category — movies from promising filmmakers who are getting their first major exposure at Cannes. “It’s wonderful to be here,” says Rossellini, who came to Cannes with her daughter Elettra Rossellini Weidemann. The pair soaked up the Cannes sunshine and visited with PEOPLE on the spectacular roof of the Palais. She continues, “For one thing it means getting to see those enormous posters of my mother everywhere.” That would be Hollywood legend Ingrid Bergman, whose image adorns the official festival poster. “That makes it very special.” Weidemann, 31, agrees. “I never knew my grandmother [Bergman died in 1982]. I came to admire her through her movies like everyone else.”

Whether it’s legends like Bergman or newcomers like Rachel Brosnahan, best known for her work in House of Cards but enjoying her first festival with a showy role in the new movie Louder than Bombs with Jesse Eisenberg, celebrities were enjoying their stint on the Riviera. As Brosnahan told PEOPLE: “I can’t believe I’m here.”

Earlier in the day, the Inside Out premiere attracted a star-studded red carpet, including Andie MacDowell, who showed some major cleavage while rocking a coral floor-length gown by Elie Saab. Mindy Kaling, who voices Disgust in the film, shared photos from her big day with PEOPLE, including her personal ticket to the screening (below).

 

Regis Duvignau/Reuters/Landov

Regis Courtesy Mindy Kaling

Best Thing We Ate: The insanely delicious shrimp and asparagus dish at the Hôtel Majestic Barrière

Cutest Dog of the Day: These puppies in a stroller, our new desktop background

Best Gig: The deejays (like this guy at the De Grisogono jewelry suite at the Hôtel Martinez). Music, great views, celeb sightings — and they get paid​

VIDEO: Stars Shine on the Cannes Red Carpet

SUNDAY, MAY 17:

Day Cinq!

Cannes is officially the world’s party capital, with Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett doing a victory lap at Harvey Weinstein’s red-hot party for his movie Carol at the seafront Baoli Beach nightclub. Under a tent filled with industry heavy-hitters including Cannes juror Jake Gyllenhaal, Mara and Blanchett worked the room, getting congratulations on their performances in a film that seems destined to factor in a major way at the Oscars. Blanchett also did quite the fashion 180, going from a bold blue gown at the premiere to a more subtle blush dress for the after party.

When Carol screened at the Palais, it not only got an extended standing ovation but when Blanchett’s and Mara’s names appeared onscreen during the credits, the crowd roared its approval and the applause was thunderous. Praise was also showered on director Todd Haynes, with insiders wondering if the director will score his first-ever Oscar nomination. Another clue that the movie is awards bait — Weinstein announced that he will release Carol on Dec. 18 in the U.S., prime time to be considered for nominations.

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Earlier in the day, Natalie Portman told PEOPLE she was “honored” to bring Israeli writer Amos Oz’s autobiographical novel A Tale of Love and Darkness to the big screen. Despite roasting temperatures, the actress kept cool in a daring Rodarte dress at the La Plage Majestic Beach club and soaked up praise for her directorial debut, in which she also plays the mother of Oz, one of her literary heroes.

VIDEO: Natalie Portman Talks Her Directorial Debut: A Tale of Love and Darkness

Also turning heads in Cannes, Salma Hayek, who stole the Carol red carpet in a plunging purple Gucci gown. Hayek, who is in Cannes to promote her movie
Tale of Tales
has another passion project she has been talking up: her animated adaptation of Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran’s work The Prophet.

Hayek screened a portion of the film at last year’s festival and can’t wait to show the whole movie, which features the voices of Liam Neeson and Quvenzhané Wallis, to audiences. It’s also brought Hayek in touch with her Lebanese roots (her family emigrated from the Middle Eastern nation to her native Mexico). Recently, the actress made an emotional trip to her ancestral homeland to visit with Syrian refugees. The movie, says Hayek, is “both a beautiful story and a labor of love,” she told PEOPLE.

Prettiest View of the Day: This shot from the private yacht party celebrating The Phoenix Incident

Most Delicious Thing We Ate: A Magnum ice cream bar dipped by Camila Alves, who swears she really eats ice cream

Best Star Sighting: The two mystery celebs we had lunch with (stay tuned for photos from the shoot in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly!)

Most Dedicated Cannes Attendee: This woman, who just really wants a ticket

Most Glamorous Cannes Experience: This dog is having it

Photo of the Day:

Chris Floyd

Celebrating a wildly successful premiere at the Carol after party, Rooney Mara straightens the bow tie of director Todd Haynes. Mara, who is receiving huge accolades for her performance as Therese, a department store clerk who falls for the mysterious Carol, played by Cate Blanchett. “Todd did a lot of the preparation for me,” says a grateful Mara. “He gave me a long list of films to watch, and he made me about six CDs with all of this music from the time period.”

SATURDAY, MAY 16:

Day Quatre!

Cannes saw the return of one of its favorite stars: Matthew McConaughey, who arrived in the Côte D’Azur for the premiere of Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees. The film may have gotten a less than rousing reception from some critics, but the star responded in classic McConaughey fashion: “Everyone has as much right to boo as they do to ovate,” he said. And at the film’s Palais premiere, fans were thrilled to see a bearded McConaughey in a maroon tuxedo jacket, arm in arm with his costar Watts, who looked stunning in a backless Armani Privé gown. McConaughey worked the delighted crowd, signing autographs and — never mind those critics — the movie was rewarded with a short standing ovation.

Dominique Charriau/WireImage

VIDEO: What Are Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts Writing Letters to Each Other About?

Elsewhere in Cannes, buzz continues to build around Cate Blanchett’s new movie Carol, a lesbian romance set in the 1950s and based on a groundbreaking novel by American novelist Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train). The Weinstein Company film seems destined to figure in next year’s Oscar race, and the studio also clearly has high hopes, celebrating its stars Blanchett and Rooney Mara with an exclusive party on Sunday night. Another Weinstein contender, Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays a battered fighter in Southpaw, has been working the Cannes scene, no longer black and blue but still buff from the grueling training regime he underwent to play a pro boxer. Mogul Harvey Weinstein clearly hopes to see both Blanchett and Gyllenhaal at awards podiums in a few months.

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Away from the movies, celebs such as Watts, Jane Fonda and Eva Longoria are buffed and polished at the deluxe L’Oréal Paris suite atop the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez. The actresses — all beauty ambassadors for the cosmetics empire — have their hair and makeup done by squads of beauty virtuosos such as Tom Bachik, the brand’s Global Nail Designer (and the man responsible for J.Lo’s manicures). The giant penthouse boasts state-of-the-art spa and beauty amenities and a jaw-dropping view of the yacht-filled Mediterranean, with Paul Allen’s gigantic pleasure craft smack dab in the middle of it all. Guests of the suite can create personalized lipsticks engraved with their names in honor of the 30th anniversary of L’Oréal’s Colour Riche line, and the beauty bar has been mobbed with customers.

Chris Floyd

Downstairs, Fawaz Gruosi, founder and creative director of Geneva-based jeweler De Grisogno, has once again created an eye-popping collection of accessories for Natalie Portman, Mary J. Blige and other high-rolling stars. The jeweler, who hosts one of the festival’s most exclusive parties at the Hôtel du Cap in nearby Antibes every year, is gearing up for a mega-fete this Tuesday. “For the guests it’s fun but for us it’s hard work,” Gruosi told PEOPLE as his suite filled with well-heeled customers. Look for Blige and other guests to be partying wearing some serious rocks.

Bits and Bobs from Day 4:

Biggest Fangirl Moment: This dog, who made us squeal for about three straight minutes

Best Thing We Drank: A mojito at Nikki Beach

Our New Favorite Thing: The customizable lipstick bar in the L’Oréal Paris suite

Best Security: The eagle protecting the goods at the L’Oréal Paris suite

Most Random Sighting: This Mrs. Doubtfire impersonator. Don’t ask questions, just go with it

Saturday morning:

The first weekend of the Cannes Film Festival is traditionally super-starry, and Diane Kruger, a festival fave, kicked off Saturday looking magnifique at the photo call for her drama Maryland.

Anthony Harvey/FilmMagic

Meanwhile, all of Cannes is talking about Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz’s movie The Lobster, which premiered last night — it’s the first hit of the festival. The absurdist comedy/drama is set in a dystopian future where people are forced to either find a mate or be turned into an animal of their choosing. (Think Tinder with a twist.) Farrell plays a man recently dumped by his wife who goes to the “Hotel” where all singletons must meet up. LOTS goes wrong, and the film takes a more serious, dark turn. Everyone is raving about the movie and, in particular, Farrell.

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The glamour just keeps coming: Natalie Portman (in Dior, with her costars Gilad Kahana, left, and Ram Bergman​) premiered her feature directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s autobiography.

Chris Floyd

Photo of the Day: Man of the hour Colin Farrell — earning raves for his surreal drama The Lobster — channeled French new-wave cool while talking to the press on Saturday.

Chris Floyd

A toast at Nikki Beach.

Chris Floyd

Farrell is the talk of the town.

Chris Floyd

Even Cannes’ local color needs to take the occasional break.

FRIDAY, MAY 15:

Day trois!

A-listers unleashed serious fashion firepower Friday, as stars lit up the red carpet with some of the sharpest looks at the fest yet. Rachel Weisz dazzled in a fitted jumpsuit beside costar Colin Farrell for the Lobster photo call, and Emma Stone, the star of Woody Allen’s Irrational Man, managed the windy weather like a pro, avoiding a Marilyn Monroe moment when a pesky gust of wind threatened to blow her dress up. But Stone made Cannes fall even more hopelessly in love with her at her evening premiere, wearing a sexy white Dior gown with a major train (an assistant walked with her to try to keep it out of harm’s way). Allen jokingly tried to step on it the entire way up the carpet, while Stone playfully tried to protect her personal space. The reporters and crowd laughed — even the host on the carpet joked, “That was close to a wardrobe malfunction.”

After charming the French, Stone didn’t have time to kick back at the Hôtel du Cap. She was set to fly to England to promote her upcoming romantic comedy Aloha with Bradley Cooper.

Dominique Charriau/Wireimage

Also taking their turn on the red carpet at the Palais: Farrell and Weisz, who got a warm welcome for their quirky futuristic romance The Lobster, while costar Léa Seydoux turned heads in a Miu Miu dress and sapphire drop earrings from the Red Carpet Collection by Chopard, which features 68 different pieces this year to mark 68 years of Cannes. (Appropriately enough for the star of Blue Is the Warmest Color!) Away from the Palais, the partying continued at the Nikki Beach Nightclub (trademark drink: the mojito), and at the grand Cannes hotels — the InterContinental Carlton Cannes, the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez and the Hôtel Majestic Barrière. The last of these has decorated its front drive with a giant gilded Mockingjay statue, courtesy of movie studio Lionsgate. Confused, French lovers of Jennifer Lawrence gathered hoping to catch sight of the star. (Her props are here, she is not).

Along the Croisette, growing throngs of fans from all over Europe were on the lookout for other American imports during the festival’s big opening weekend. Most people here won’t ever see a single movie — but they couldn’t be happier for a glimpse of haute couture — and the Hollywood invasion. Tomorrow: Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts will walk up the famous red-carpeted steps for Sea of Trees, and Natalie Portman will unveil her feature directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness —  and, we’re hoping, keep up the stunning style streak.

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Guillamaume
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Bits and Bobs from Day 3:

Best Thing We Ate: This majestic creation from Nikki Beach

Most Touching Moment: Music by B.B. King — who passed away Thursday night — played during the night’s red carpets for Irrational Man and The Lobster

Least Enthusiastic Cannes Attendee: This guard, who probably just wants to go home and sleep

Best Style: Forget fashion icons like Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz — John C. Reilly came to win

THURSDAY, MAY 14:

Day two of Cannes was filled with glamour as the festival got going on all cylinders.

Eva Longoria — a big star in France — was swarmed by paparazzi at Nice airport and dressed the part of a classic movie star in a form-fitting white dress and sunglasses. She joined Natalie Portman, Catherine Deneuve and Cate Blanchett in the France’s movie mecca, and despite the heat and humidity, thousands of fans mobbed the scenic Promenade de la Croisette to try for selfies with their favorite stars.

At the Hotel Martinez, an elegant Lupita Nyong’o (also in white) stepped out of her chauffeured car in an ivory dress. Upstairs in the Chopard suite, deep-pocketed customers checked out the jeweler’s red carpet collection launched every year at Cannes. This time out, Chopard, which designs the festival’s golden Palme d’Or award, marked the 60th birthday of the festival’s famed laurel wreath with a line of glittering diamond jewelry featuring the symbol. Chopard also designed 68 eye-popping jewelry pieces to commemorate the number of years the festival has been in business. How much is it all worth? Millions!

But bling can attract the wrong kind of attention — thieves made off with booty from Cartier, triggering security concerns. In addition to the usual parade of Ferraris up and down the Croisette, armed guards are more conspicuous. And security measures have been stepped up throughout the city, including at the sprawling Palais.

But none of it has kept the crowds — or the stars — away. At the Hôtel Majestic Barrière Cannes, mogul Harvey Weinstein debuted his studio new films to a packed hall. On hand to schmooze was Jake Gyllenhaal (whose boxing film Southpaw is being positioned as an Oscar contender) and a demure Sienna Miller, paired again with Bradley Cooper for the chefs-in-love pic Adam Jones.

Chris Floyd

Rising star Alicia Vikander, who also appears in that film and stars in the period drama Tulip Fever with Weinstein staple Judi Dench, also got ready for a sneak peek at upcoming films at the event. Weinstein declared that Vikander was having “an amazing year,” and the 26-year-old Swede clearly agreed, blushing and thanking him for the opportunities.

Chris Floyd

As night fell, temperatures cooled and the Palais threw another big name premiere — Mad Max: Fury Road. Hundreds cheered on Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult and Zoë Kravitz as they ascended the red-carpeted steps of the hulking building to watch the fast-paced action film.

VIDEO: Charlize Theron Dazzles in Diamonds at Cannes Film Festival

Did the French take to Max? Early word was that its riveting stunts and feminist twist were a hit. And the stars that went off to an appropriately apocalyptic Cannes after party seemed to be having the time of their lives.

Bits and Bobs from Day 2:

Largest Crowd: The Mad Max premiere

Hottest Celeb Sighting: Jake Gyllenhaal

Most Expensive Thing We Saw: This diamond and sapphire Chopard necklace, which costs as much as a house … a very big house.

Most Random Sighting: Jerome Jarre, a 24-year-old Vine and Snapchat star. When he exited the celeb-packed Hotel Martinez, the sound of screaming girls was reminiscent of a One Direction concert.

Chris Floyd

Photo of the Day:

Chris Floyd

Cannes juror Sienna Miller slips into the Weinstein presentation. She and Bradley Cooper re-team in the film Adam Jones, a comedy-drama about a chef who assembled a superstar crew to open the perfect restaurant.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 13:

It’s opening night! Thousands packed the streets and flooded the Promenade de la Croisette to celebrate the premiere evening of the festival.

The crowds roared when French icon Catherine Deneuve, accompanied by her family — including daughter Chiara Mastroianni — stepped onto the red carpet to climb the steps of the Palais. Her opening-night movie, La Tête Haute (a.k.a. Standing Tall), received positive buzz.

The stars of night No. 2’s marquee draw, Mad Max: Fury Road, lit up the red carpet upon their arrival, with Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult upping the fest’s star power.

Tony Barson/FilmMagic

More Hollywood glamour came courtesy of Natalie Portman, alongside her husband Benjamin Millepied. Also firing up the flashbulbs? Lupita Nyong’o (who was greeted with ear-piercing cheers), Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Vincent Desailly/Getty

Dozens of women, dressed to the nines in elegant gowns, stood outside the Palais holding up signs asking for tickets to the invite-only bash. Some hopefuls showed just how desperately they wanted a view from the inside by offering to be a date or a plus-one.

Stay tuned for more glimpses behind the scenes (we’re visiting the most amazing jewelry suites!) and the latest scoop on the festival’s hottest films. We’ll sign off for the night with this gorgeous view from the Chopard suite:

VIDEO: Everything You Need to Know from Cannes Day 1

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