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DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures have consistently used the festival to hype projects in the works, and did so again Wednesday with a presentation of “The Rise of the Guardians,” an animated family film for this year’s holiday movie season.

It gathers slightly different versions of mythic childhood characters _ including Santa Claus (Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) _ in an “Avengers”-like league of world protection.

Baldwin, never one to bite his tongue, showed no interest in sugarcoating the truth for younger audiences: “Fairy Tooth is a club in lower Manhattan,” he declared.

A jury of nine will sift through the 22 in-competition entries _ which include Walter Salles’ “On the Road,” David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” and Michael Haneke’s “Amour” _ to decide the festival’s top award, the prestigious Palme d’Or.

This year’s jury is presided over by Nanni Moretti, who won the festival’s top prize in 2006 for “The Son’s Room,” and includes actors Ewan McGregor and Diane Kruger, directors Alexander Payne and Raoul Peck, and fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.

At Cannes, the psychology of the jurors is analyzed like tea leaves for hints of what kind of material they might respond best to. Moretti lamented the feverish scrutiny of the jury, saying he preferred when jury meetings were as secret as the thoughts of the conclave of cardinals who choose Roman Catholic popes _ the subject of Moretti’s most recent film, “Habemus Papam.”

“There were two remaining taboos in the world: the silence after the awards and the conclave,” Moretti said. “Now it’s just the conclave.”

Any puffs of white smoke at Cannes, though, are more likely to be the result of mischief from Baron Cohen than peaceful deliberation.


Associated Press Writer Jill Lawless contributed to this report.


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