The 2012 Cannes Film Festival which begins on May15th, is already being referred to as the year of the artist. A striking array of A-list productions are set to debut along with a few understated gems. When the line-up was announced last month many zoned in on the Brad Pitt's attendance: The actor will be making his first red carpet appearance with Angelina Jolie since their engagement was announced. The fact that Twilight couple Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart both have films in the festival did not go unnoticed either. MTV named Robsten's inclusion in the festival the top reason why Cannes will rock.  

Here are the five most anticipated films of the festival.

1. Killing Them Softly: Andrew Dominik's follow-up to the underrated The Assassination of Jesse James is one of the most talked about films at the festival this year. This is largely due to Brad Pitt's role in the gritty drama, which is a major departure for him. Based on the violent crime novel Cogan;s Trade, by George V Higgins, the film is set in 2008.

Why the Buzz? Pitt stars as Jackie Coogan, a man sent to clean up a high stakes poker game organized by the mob. Killing Them Softy allows Pitt to collaborate with crime genre veterans, Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini. The remarkable Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under, The Cabin in the Woods also has a supporting role. Since his artfully produced first feature Chopper debut, Dominik's work has gained a notable following. This Scorsese style gangster film could be the gateway to commercial success for the Australian director.

2. Cosmopolis: David Cronenberg's body horror shocker films haven't sat well with mass audiences but the auteur has had a cult following since the 1970's. His innovative portrayals of violence and sexuality assured that he was the ideal filmmaker to adapt Don DeLillo's raunchy novel of the same name.

Why the Buzz? The art-house thriller's unlikely star Robert Pattinson brings a unique edge to the provocative indie. Pattinson's worldwide fame and commercial appeal makes him an interesting choice to portray Eric Packer, a dashing billionaire who enjoys limo sex and playing with guns. Furthermore, the film's bizarre trailer is not only intriguing; it shows Pattinson's transformation from tween heartthrob to versatile actor.

3. On the Road: When Jack Kerouac's now infamous novel was released in 1957, the beatnik author wrote a letter to Marlon Brando asking that he star in the film version. Brando never replied and the film rights weren't purchased until 1979. Over the years everyone from Francis Ford Coppola to Gus VanSant was associated with a film adaptation.

Why the Buzz? Few expected the film version of On the Road to be directed by relatively unknown Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles. Yet if his previous road trip chronicle The Motorcycle Diaries is an accurate indicator of his abilities, On the Road is a remarkable film.

The heavy-hitting cast includes Kristen Stewart, Garret Hedlund, Amy Adams, Vigo Mortensen, and Kirsten Dunst. Interestingly enough, a relative unknown was cast as the iconic lead character, Sal Paradise. Sam Riley demonstrated considerable acting chops in the 2008 Joy Division biopic Control. This film will likely propel him from his under-the-radar status.

4. Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson has established himself as the king of quirk. His latest film bares stylistic parallels to his other colorful dark comedies, The Royal Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic. The film centers on a pair of young lovers who flee their humdrum small-town life only to be presumed missing.

Why the Buzz? Moonrise Kingdom's undeniably appealing cast includes Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman. The film also features Anderson's trademark camera techniques, attention to aesthetic detail, and distinctive narrative structure. 

5. The Paperboy: Up-and-coming director Lee Daniels made an impressive mainstream debut with Precious at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. His latest project is a major departure from the unsettlingportrait of urban life. The Paperboy, based on the 1995 novel by Peter Dexter, is an emotional crime drama. It focuses on a reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his naïve younger brother (Zac Efron) as they attempt to free an innocent man from death row (John Cusack).

Why the Buzz? Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman star in the standout film. The plot seems as though it was plucked from the Golden Era of Hollywood and so does its poster.