On the Scene at Cannes: Day 9

Just when it didn’t seem possible for there to be more noise, more energy, and more excitement, just northeast of Cannes in Monaco yet another tradition gets underway with a roar on the closing weekend of the Film Festival: The Grand Prix! They’ve been zooming around that track longer than Cannes has been celebrating film. The stars love to zip between both events.

The big question all over the Riviera is “Who’s going to be this year’s big winner?” Serious contenders for the Palme d’Or, like Michael Moore and Mike Leigh, are still ambling around taking meetings at the Majestic and Carlton and buying souvenirs from the Festival’s Official Shop.

Other legends are still hard at work. Sharon Stone, although regularly seen lunching at the glorious Colombe d’Or (see Day 8 of our Cannes coverage) takes her job as a juror so seriously she’s wearing down her heels traveling up the red staircase to see every movie before Sunday night’s Award Ceremony.

Martin Scorsese, winner of the Golden Palm for Taxi Driver and best director for After Hours, stayed behind after his Gangs of New York stars left. He’s head of the jury of the Cinéfondation, which means he’s watching 16 (out of 2000 contenders) short- and medium-length films that are being screened at the Salle Buñuel. Tilda Swinton and others are helping. The winner wins big: first prize is getting to screen their first feature at the Cannes Film Festival!

Some girls just want to have fun. Sandra Bullock is probably thrilled to relax and enjoy a few parties celebrating her special screening of Murder by Numbers, in which she plays a homicide detective stumbling on what is perhaps the perfect murder. She’s been hard at work at her latest role, a defense attorney who, you guessed it, falls in love with her wealthy, caddish client Hugh Grant in Two Weeks’ Notice. Another gal about town is Lili Taylor, who’s been making the rounds with Michael Keaton promoting their HBO movie Live From Baghdad, based on real-life journalists who covered the Gulf War.

Even though a brief squall rained noisily on the pointed roofs of the white cabanas, tonight is proving to be bright and spicy. Bollywood takes center stage with Devdas, which tells the epic tale of shattered love in the spectacular filmmaking style from India (which inspired Moulin Rouge).

If things weren’t ornate enough, AmFAR’s starry benefit dinner is a black-tie affair at the Moulin de Mougins, one of Cannes most exclusive restaurants. Dame Elizabeth Taylor (as she is referred to on this side of the Atlantic–she has been a star since 1944, after all!) is being joined by Iman, Sharon Stone and anyone else who wants to sponsor a table of 10 for $100,000! Diamond company De Beers is co-sponsoring the fete and a $100,000 diamond necklace will be auctioned for the AIDS research charity.

For those rocks, you gotta be rolling!