EXCLUSIVE: As I predicted, Sony Pictures Classics partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have made the first significant deal of the Cannes Film Festival, acquiring domestic distribution rights on the Mike Leigh-directed drama Another Year. (Footage from the film below.) The picture made its debut last weekend and, based on the positive response, is considered a strong contender for the Palme d’Or, which Leigh won for 1996’s Secrets & Lies. It’s late in the day to know how heated the bidding became, but I’m told SPC paid a minimum guarantee for the film. SPC came to Cannes ready to buy: it’s also considered a strong candidate to acquire the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful, the Spanish language drama that stars Javier Bardem.