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Best of the blogs: Austin movie blog

Charles Ealy

Austin director Jeff Nichols, who's making his debut this year in the competition at the Cannes Film Festival, is facing an unusual situation. His Mississippi River drama "Mud" will be the last to screen in competition in advance of the Palme d'Or ceremony on May 27.

The major industry dailies from the United States — The Hollywood Reporter and Variety — leave Cannes before the final Saturday, which this year falls on May 26. So Nichols' movie will get far less publicity than movies that screen earlier in the festival. Equally important, Britain's Screen International departs early, as well, and that publication provides a running summary of critical reaction to Cannes films.

But this doesn't diminish the chances for "Mud" to win the Palme d'Or, which is awarded by a jury and not the press.

In 2008, in fact, the last competition movie to screen in Cannes was the French school drama "The Class." But "The Class" won the top prize anyway.

This year, Nichols is not alone in having a high-profile movie screen late. Most of the big-buzz titles, especially those from North America, will screen during the festival's second week.

Andrew Dominick's "Killing Them Softly," starring Brad Pitt, doesn't screen until Tuesday. Walter Salles' "On the Road," with Kristen Stewart, screens the following day. American director Lee Daniels doesn't present "The Paperboy," with Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey, until Thursday. And fans of Robert Pattinson of "Twilight" will have to wait until Saturday to see him star in "Cosmopolis."