The super-producer shows off explosive footage from The Hateful Eight, and compares Jake Gyllenhaal's boxing movie Southpaw to De Niro's Raging Bull

The film producer Harvey Weinstein held his annual Cannes reception in the Salle Croisette of the Majestic Barrière hotel last night, where he unveiled to journalists his big hopes for the coming awards season.

Perhaps the biggest of them lot was Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, a chamber western called The Hateful Eight, and Weinstein made clear that the film was a personal favourite.

“My relationship with Quentin is the best marriage I’ve had – don’t tell Georgina,” he joshed. While Weinstein’s marriage to fashion designer Georgina Chapman dates from 2007, the Weinstein-Tarantino relationship goes back three times as long: all the way to the director’s 1992 debut, Reservoir Dogs, which Weinstein distributed through his company Miramax.

The new film looks like an attempt by Tarantino – and perhaps Weinstein too – to recapture the unmistakeable magic of their honeymoon period. It centres on eight denizens of the Old West, played by Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins and Demián Bichir, who shelter from a snowstorm in a mountain chalet and realise they have a traitor in their midst.

Die-hard Tarantino fans may have noticed that their number recalls the eight villains from Reservoir Dogs – the six crooks with colour-coded names, plus Nice Guy Eddie and his father, the mob boss Joe Cabot. And in the admittedly brief two-minute trailer Weinstein showed to press, the film looked to have adopted much the same format as that film, with live-wire confrontations engineered between the various characters which leads to an explosive, Jacobean denouement.

A teaser poster for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight

Only two locations were seen in the clip: a snowy mountain pass, in which the various characters seem to meet on the road in the dead of night, and the cavernous chalet itself. Jackson’s Major Marquis Warren, a bounty hunter, and Russell’s John Ruth, a hangman, sported luxuriant moustaches and smoked enormous pipes, while Roth’s Oswaldo Mobray spoke with an effete English accent: “Well well, looks like Minnie’s Haberdashery is going to get busy for the next few days,” he coos. It all felt a little bit Agatha Christie.

The film’s much-touted use of 70mm film stock seemed evident in the glorious panoramic views of the mountain pass, and the actors’ delivery and vibrant colour palette suggested the film might play as an eccentric black comedy. The trailer ended with the film’s title, rendered as ‘The H8ful Eight’, and an exhortation to “see the film in 70mm super cinemascope”, which drew a handful of whoops from the crowd.

As for its Oscar chances: “When you see the footage, I think you’ll believe,” Weinstein said beforehand, with evangelical zeal. It wasn’t much, but it boded very well indeed.

None of the other films on the Weinstein clip reel was quite as hotly anticipated as the Tarantino, but there were other promising moments. Adam Jones is a lively-looking drama starring Bradley Cooper as a world-class chef getting himself back into business after some kind of alcohol-related breakdown; he opens a restaurant in London, hires a sassy sous-chef played by Sienna Miller, and spends a lot of time shouting and throwing plates at the wall. “We’re not making food,” he declaims in one scene. “We’re dealing in culinary orgasms.” The director is John Wells (August: Osage County, The Company Men), who seems to have included plenty of lingering food-porn close-ups.

Southpaw, a boxing drama starring an eye-poppingly brawny Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), was accepted into the Cannes competition, said Weinstein, but had to forgo its place as the finishing touches were still being applied. The upshot of this was that Gyllenhaal was able to sit on the Cannes jury, and he was welcomed onto the stage by Weinstein.

The new Raging Bull? Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw Credit: The Weinstein Company/Scott Garfield

“The transformation in Southpaw is strong physically…what Jake did together with Antoine is like what I saw Scorsese and De Niro do together in Raging Bull,” Weinstein enthused. He recalled Gyllenhaal’s surprise omission from the Oscar nominations last year for his work in Nightcrawler: “He should have got on for that, but we’ll get it for this.”

Todd Haynes’ Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt, looked like a sumptuous mid-century melodrama; the film will screen at Cannes later this week in competition. No Escape, with Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan, looked a little like a re-run of the 2012 tsunami thriller The Impossible except with rioting Asians instead of seawater.

Cate Blanchett in Todd Haynes's Carol Credit: Festival de Cannes

Wilson plays a family man who relocates with his wife and children to an unspecified south-east Asian country, where a bloody military coup erupts around them.

The Little Prince, which screens at Cannes next week, is an animation from Mark Osborne, the director of Kung Fu Panda, and blends computer graphics and origami stop-motion in an unusual and visually arresting way. The film is based on a French novella of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, with Osborne’s animation mimicking Saint-Exupéry’s original, hand-drawn watercolour illustrations.

The heated melodrama Tulip Fever stars two young performers whose stars are on the rise: Alicia Vikander, who has already appeared in two excellent films this year, Ex Machina and Testament of Youth, and Dane DeHaan, perhaps still best known for his James Dean-like work as a troubled teenager in The Place Beyond the Pines.

The pair play a married young noblewoman and an artist in 17th-century Holland who carry out a torrid affair behind the back of her powerful husband, played by Christoph Waltz. The script is by Tom Stoppard, and Judi Dench has a fun-looking supporting role as a nun.

Then came Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, a brooding and blood-spattered adaptation of the Shakespeare play with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in the lead roles: “Two new actors, working it out as they go along,” Weinstein joked. His hopes will surely be high for an acting prize from this year’s Cannes jury after the film screens here next week – and the Oscar nominations those may go on to prompt.

Along with Macbeth, Lion was promoted as being “from the producers of The King’s Speech”, and its feel-good, tear-jerking, based-on-a-true-story plot will surely have Weinstein hoping for similar commercial success.

The film stars Dev Patel as a young Australian man trying to find his birth mother in central India; Nicole Kidman plays his adoptive mother, and seems to be positioned as a best supporting actress contender. Flashbacks to Patel’s character’s down-at-heel childhood in Khandwa had a stylised, Slumdog Millionaire feel.

Hands of Stone was another boxing drama, starring Robert De Niro and Édgar Ramírez as Ray Arcel and Roberto Duran, the legendary trainer and one of his star pupils, whose two dramatic bouts with Sugar Ray Leonard are the stuff of boxing history. Weinstein made clear the film would be on his 2016 slate. Promoting two boxing films during a single awards season is clearly a campaign too far, even for him.