With the official lineup yet to be announced -- aside from Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby -- the 2013 Cannes Film Festival so far is being defined by which films aren't going.
In some instances, it's a matter of projects not being done in time.
Included in that group are Steve McQueen's Twelve Years a Slave, starring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Quvenzhane Wallis; Lee Daniels' ensemble White House historical drama The Butler; and Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller's high-profile follow-up to Moneyball.
Nor is Spike Jonze's Her believed to be finished; ditto for John Wells' August: Osage County, based on Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play and starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Cannes, considering its South of France environs, would have been a natural fit for the world premiere of Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman as the legendary Grace Kelly, but it seems unlikely now that The Weinstein Co. has dated the film for a Dec. 27 release.
Then there's the matter of Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac. The Danish auteur, whose films have been a staple on the Croisette, was declared "persona non grata" by the festival's board of directors two years ago after he joked about being a Nazi during a press conference for Melancholia. Most festival veterans find it hard to believe that Nymphomaniac would be invited to screen.
Pedro Almodovar and Woody Allen, both of whom have frequented Cannes for years, are bypassing the festival this year with their respective new films, I'm So Excited and Blue Jasmine.
In 2011, Allen's Midnight in Paris was the opening-night film, while his To Rome With Love screened out of competition in 2012. Almodovar is just as much of a Cannes denizen, if not more so. Festival watchers point out that neither director has had a film win the coveted Palme d'Or, so they may be weighing the pros and cons of going.
None of this is to say that the famous red carpet leading up to the Palais will be bereft of familiar faces. Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis, starring Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman, is all but assured a competition slot (the brothers' Barton Fink won the Palme d'Or in 1991).
And all bets are on Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, turning up, even though it is airing on HBO. Cannes launched Soderbergh's career when it awarded Sex, Lies and Videotape the festival's top prize in 1989.
Another shoo-in is Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's French film The Past, starring Berenice Bejo.
There's buzz that Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson, will play in some section of the festival. In 2006, Coppola's Marie Antoinette made its notorious world premiere on the Croisette.
Among the high-profile wild cards are J.C. Chandor's ocean drama All is Lost, starring Robert Redford, and Alexander Payne's black-and-white drama Nebraska, starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte. Cannes Film Festival managing director Thierry Fremaux, who is in the final stages of deciding the lineup, is courting both films, according to insiders.
Other titles in the offing include James Gray's Lowlife, starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner; Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties, starring Cotillard opposite Clive Owen, Mila Kunis and Zoe Saldana; Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives, which reunites the director with his Drive star Ryan Gosling; and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Cannes favorite Tilda Swinton opposite Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska. There's also speculation that Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson, could turn up.
Other than Warner Bros.' Gatsby, which opens the festival May 15, Hollywood studios aren't expected to have a major presence in terms of the lineup, despite the fact that Steven Spielberg is heading up the jury.
Stuart Kemp in London and Scott Roxborough in Cologne, Germany, contributed to this report.