The Actresses To Watch At Cannes 2011

Check out some of the leading ladies at this year's Cannes festival

Keystone Press

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Keystone Press

Keystone Press

Keystone Press

It’s only just begun, but the 64th annual Cannes Film Festival is already overrun with ingénues, Oscar winners and at least two women–Angelina Jolie and Aishwarya Rai–commonly called the Most Beautiful Woman In The World. Here’s a who’s who of women wowing the crowds at Cannes.

Rachel McAdams
The Canadian beauty stars in one of the festival’s most anticipated films, Midnight in Paris, alongside her real-life boyfriend Michael Sheen. Directed by Woody Allen and co-starring Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard, McAdams plays Inez, Wilson’s nagging fiancee who is also an American in Paris that wants to go home. “I was so excited when Woody said to me: ‘You won’t be playing the object of desire!’ ” McAdams commented to a Cannes Press Conference on Wednesday. “I was excited about this kind of deliciously direct character. I personally enjoy Paris for all of its romance [but] I see it from an entirely different point of view from my character’s point of view. [She] wishes she was back in Malibu. That was fun for me and it was great.”

Angelina Jolie
The always stunning Jolie is doing double duty at Cannes this year, promoting her new animated feature Kung Fu Panda 2 and supporting hubby Brad Pitt’s new film The Tree of Life, which will be shown later in the festival. Jolie reprises her role as Tigress for the animated sequel which also stars funny man Jack Black. Jolie told MTV about her attempt at creating a voice for her character. “I came in and I was Mae West for a while,” she recalled. “I was doing southern, I was doing British, I was doing any accent I could come up with. Finally, they had to give me the talking to that they’d analyzed my voice and they’d hired me and they were very fine with my [natural voice], ‘So please just stop doing those horrible voices.'” Jolie also showed off an addition to her tattoo on her upper left arm at Kung Fu Panda’s photo call on Wednesday. It’s the latitude and longitude of Brad Pitt’s birthplace of Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Tilda Swinton
British thespian and Oscar winner Tilda Swinton stars in one of the most powerful films presented at Cannes this year, the drama We Need To Talk About Kevin. Swinton plays the mother of a teenager who commits a massacre at his high school. “Lack of words was, if anything, an easy thing,” Swinton said. “It’s not about facts. It’s about feelings. Being a parent is like writing one long letter you never send. At the end of the day the only thing you can hear is your heartbeat.”

Aishwarya Rai
The Miss World title-holder turned Bollywood screen siren is hitting up the Cannes red carpet for the tenth year in a row as L’Oreal’s brand ambassador. The Indian superstar is reportedly playing the lead in Madhu Bhandarkar’s Heroine, rumoured to be inspired by the life of Marilyn Monroe. It tells the story of a leading Indian actress whose career is fading, but who is desperate not to find herself in obscurity.

Emily Browning
This Aussie starlet, last seen in the critically panned Sucker Punch, is at Cannes with the psychosexual drama Sleeping Beauty. The controversial content of the film (Browning’s character is paid to sleep in a room while being visited by men) has created a stir at the festival. “She physically looks innocent, but she’s very aware,” Browning said of her character. “I don’t see her as a victim in any way. There’s something perverse about her… letting things happen to her.”–Ashley Singh

Follow Canadian actress Nadia Litz’s adventures as she takes her directorial debut to Cannes