Cannes 2015: Jacques Audiard and Gus Van Sant among critics' picks

Jacques Audiard could return to Cannes to present his latest film, "Dheepan."

On Thursday, April 16 Thierry Frémaux will announce the official selection of the 68th Cannes Film Festival. Out of around 1,800 films submitted to the organizers, only 20 will be chosen to compete for the festival's top award, the coveted Palme d'Or.

This May 13 to 24, the Cannes Film Festival will see the return of some of the directors and actors who helped to establish its reputation over the years. According to early rumors, a number of previously honored filmmakers will once again climb the stairs of the Palais des Festivals.

The competition next month is expected to include four previous Palme d'Or winners. Emir Kusturica could be in the running with "On the Milky Road" starring Monica Bellucci, 20 years after triumphing in Cannes with "Underground" and 30 after picking up the award a second time with "When Father Was Away on Business." Italian director Nanni Moretti, who claimed the prize in 2001 with "The Son's Room," could return this year with "Mia Madre." Gus Van Sant, who won in 2003 with "Elephant," may have a chance to repeat the feat with "Sea of Trees." Thai helmer Apichatpong Weerasethakul could also return, five years after earning the Palme d'Or for "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives."

Audiard, Kawase and Garrone

Other regular Cannes honorees are also well placed to enter the Palme d'Or competition. Jacques Audiard will likely be invited back to Cannes to present "Dheepan," a feature loosely based on "Persian Letters" by 18th-century French author Montesquieu. The French filmmaker is no stranger to the festival, having been featured at previous editions with "See How They Fall," "A Self-Made Hero" (which won the award for Best Screenplay), "A Prophet" (honored with the Jury Prize) and "Rust and Bone." Japanese director Naomi Kawase ("Still the Water") could also return with "Sweet Red Bean Paste," just like Italian helmer Matteo Garrone ("Gomorra," "Reality") with "The Tale of Tales" and French director Maïwenn ("Polisse") with "Mon Roi."

There are also a few newer faces who may also make it into the elite competition. "Louder than Bombs" from Norwegian director Joachim Trier is said to be on track to enter the selection. Critics have also cited Arnaud Desplechin's "Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse," Todd Haynes's "Carol," Paolo Sorrentino's "La Giovinezza," Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Lobster" and Miguel Gomes' "As 1001 Noites."

The features in the official selection will be judged by Ethan and Joel Coen, co-presidents of this year's jury. The fraternal directing duo has previously competed in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival with eight films, winning one Palme d'Or ("Barton Fink"), one Grand Prize of the Jury ("Inside Llewyn Davis") and three directing awards ("The Barber," "Fargo," "Barton Fink"). On Monday it was announced that "La Tete Haute," featuring Catherine Deneuve and directed by French filmmaker Emmanuelle Bercot, would open the festival.