Stars return to the French Riveria for the annual film festival, including Elizabeth Taylor, Holly Hunter, and more

By Anne Thompson
Updated June 04, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Descending upon the Cote d'Azur because they like to watch — the scene, that is — the film industry wheeled and dealed its way through the 46th Cannes Film Festival. Opening with a larger-than-life Arnold Schwarzenegger balloon worthy of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the fest ended with a shared Palme d'Or for Jane Campion's The Piano set in New Zealand and Chen Kaige's Farewell to My Concubine from China. That was good news for the distributor of both films, Miramax, and its new parent, Disney. Some swear they heard a gleeful Disney chief Jeffrey Katzenberg tallying up 101 Oscar nominations. Other notable news:

Most Fun Fete: The American Foundation for AIDS Research's star-studded benefit hosted by Elizabeth Taylor at the Moulin de Mougins. Guests included Geena Davis and her date, Cliffhanger director Renny Harlin, Michael Douglas, Sly Stallone, and Taylor's Maltese terrier, Sugar. The benefit raised more than $800,000.

Most conspicuous absence: The missing 100 or so minutes of Last Action Hero (only 20 minutes were screened).

Most jaw-dropping comeback: Holly Hunter, who plays a mute 19th-century bride in The Piano, won the Best Actress award and boosted her flagging film career.

Most action-packed hotel: The Hotel du Cap, which was crawling with studio chiefs. Pranks included producers Joel Silver and Arnon Milchan bursting in on HBO's Michael Fuchs as he was making calls in his underwear.

Most confident boast: Sam Neill said of his Jurassic Park performance: "I blew the special effects off the screen."