The film will screen in competition alongside 21 other films from confirmed talents, as well as some new faces and one debut feature (see full line-up).
Artistic director Thierry Fremaux told reporters: 'The choice is always hard, but this is a rich year and we are continuing our policy of renewal.' In total, 1,615 features were screened by Fremaux and his team from 95 different countries, representing a jump of 11% compared to last year.
The festival has, over the past few years, refrained from bestowing a nationality on the competing films as so many of them have such diverse backgrounds. My Blueberry Nights, for example, was made with French money by a Chinese director in the English language and stars US and UK actors.
However, Americans are present in force with Ethan and Joel Coen's No Country For Old Men, David Fincher's Zodiac, James Gray's We Own The Night, Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park and Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. The latter competes in a slightly modified version from the one that was released recently in the US as part of the Grindhouse double-bill.
'So far the reactions are positive,' Fremaux told ScreenDaily.com. 'People are happy with the idea that there are a lot of newcomers. In competition there are 13 who have never been before and the French directors have never been in competition.
'It only looks like there are a lot of Americans. In total there aren't but in the competition yes. But, it was the films that made the decision.'
This is Van Sant's third trip to competition, Tarantino's second, the Coen brothers' seventh, Gray's second and Fincher's first. Alexander Sokurov and Emir Kusturica both return to competition for the fifth time.
Kusturica was jury president in 2005. Wong, who was jury president last year, also marks a return to the official line up for the fourth time. And, following 2004's debacle with the late arrival of 2046, the festival made assurances that My Blueberry Nights would be ready in time.
The French-language films in competition - Christophe Honore's Les Chansons d'Amour, Catherine Breillat's Une Vieille Maitresse and Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell And The Butterfly - mark all three director's first time on the red carpet, although Honore and Breillat have previously screened projects in Directors Fortnight.
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis, a black-and-white animation feature based on a graphic novel, is the only first film in the official competition.
There are eight first films in the Un Certain Regard sidebar (see complete list). Bigger names appearing in the sidebar include Barbet Schroeder with L'Avocat De La Terreur, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi with Le Reve De La Nuit D'Avant and Harmony Korine with Mister Lonely.
The Un Certain Regard jury is presided over by Pascale Ferran with the help of Jasmine Trinca, Cristi Puiu, Kent Jones and Bian Qi.
First films across all sections are eligible for the Camera d'Or prize, whose jury will be presided over by Pavel Lounguine with Julie Bertucelli, Clotilde Courau and Renato Berta. Martin Scorsese will award the Camera d'Or prize on the festival's closing night.
Out of competition screenings sure to bring star-wattage to the festival include Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Thirteen starring, among others, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon; Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart starring Angelina Jolie; and Michael Moore's Sicko, which the director asked expressly not be put into competition.
The Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary 11th Hour has a special screening as well. And Ken Burns' controversial The War, which clocks in at nearly 15 hours will also be screened. The plan for the latter is four separate screenings over two days.
Concert film U2 3D will screen at midnight as well as Abel Ferrara's first comedy Go Go Tales.
A tribute will honour the late Henry Fonda, with his daughter Jane in attendance. Masterclasses will be given by Scorsese, Howard Shore - in the presence of David Cronenberg - and Sergio Castellitto.
The now three-year-old Tous Les Cinemas du Monde program will see films screened from India, Lebanon, Poland, Africa, Columbia and Slovenia.
Denys Arcand will return to Cannes with the out-of-competition closing film, The Age Of Darkness: his feature The Barbarian Invasions won Cannes ' best actor and best screenplay prizes in 2003.