Ken Loach and David Cronenberg will headline the race for Cannes gold at the Riviera festival next month, after organisers on Thursday unveiled a line-up studded with stars from Nicole Kidman to Brad Pitt.

With a month to go until the May 16-27 event, organisers named the 22 films in the race for the Palme d'Or at the world cinema showcase, 17 in its new talent section, Un Certain Regard and 15 more set for a red-carpet slot out of competition.

Canada's Mr. Cronenberg was tipped for Cosmopolis, starring Robert Pattinson as a billionaire asset manager, while Britain's Mr. Loach will return for the 17th time with The Angel's Share, a comedy about ex-offenders who turn to whisky-making.

Among other film giants, Austria's Michael Haneke — who took the 2009 Palme d'Or for The White Ribbon — will show Amour (Love), starring France's Isabelle Huppert as the daughter of a woman hit by a stroke.

“It's a journey through cinema, and a journey around the world,” said Cannes' general delegate Thierry Fremaux, who selects the films to be submitted to the jury, headed this year by Italian Palme d'Or winner Nanni Moretti.

Picked from among 1,779 submissions, this year's selection favours smaller directors, but often with A-listers in top roles.

Australia looms large with Ms. Kidman starring in the 1960s-set The Paperboy by U.S. director Lee Daniels, as well as in Philip Kaufman's Hemingway and Gellhorn, shown out of competition, where she plays the writer's war reporter third wife.

Mr. Pitt is also teaming up with an Australian director, Andrew Dominik, for the gangster flick Killing Them Softly, while Jessica Chastain, co-star of last year's Palme d'Or winner The Tree of Life, returns in Lawless, a film about bootlegging by Australia's John Hillcoat.

And Kylie Minogue stars in Holy Motors by the edgy Leos Carax, one of three French directors in the Palme d'Or competition along with New Wave veteran Alain Resnais, who is 89, and Jacques Audiard.

Marion Cotillard will add to the Cannes glamour in Audiard's "Rust and Bone", in which she plays a killer-whale trainer.

Star-wise, Mr. Pattinson will be reunited on the Riviera with his on-screen lover from the Twilight films, Kristen Stewart, who stars in On the Road, adapted by the Brazilian Walter Salles from the Jack Kerouac novel.