All Beauty and Bloodshed, Laura Poitras‘ spectacular documentary about photographer Nan Goldin and her activism against the Sackler family and their artistic connection, was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film at the 79th Venice International Film Festival. At a ceremony Saturday night in Venice, Poitras thanked the festival for recognizing that documentary is cinema. Second place went to Alice Diop’s Saint Omer.
The best acting awards went to Cate Blanchett and Colin Farrell. Blanchett won for her performance as the renowned conductor in Todd Field’s T R and Farrell for his role as a man broken up with by his longtime friend in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. I’m shocked to get it and excited, Farrell said in a live video message broadcast at the festival on Saturday night. McDonagh was on hand to collect the award before receiving one of his own for the screenplay.
Luca Guadagnino won the Silver Lion for Best Director for the cannibal romance Bones and All, starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, which was also honored for her performance as Best Young Actress. I have a speech ready because I’m nervous, Russell said. I am incredibly grateful to be standing here. So many of my heroes are in this room. Russell thanked Guadagnino. He was a great friend to me and I love him so dearly, Russell said.
The jury also awarded the Special Jury Prize to the film No Bears by imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Pan hi. The acclaimed director was ordered by Iran in July to serve a six-year prison sentence from a decade ago, which was never carried out. The order came as the government seeks to silence criticism amid growing economic unrest and political pressure. The jury headed by Julianne Moore selects the winner from 23 competing films, in which there were many candidates for the Oscar. The Oscar winner chaired the jury, which included French director Audrey Diwan, whose film Happening won the Golden Lion last year, author Kazuo Ishiguro ( Never Let Me Go ) and Iranian actress Leila Hatami ( Separation ). The main jury also included Italian director Leonardo Di Costanzo ( The Inner Cage ), Argentinian filmmaker Mariano Cohn ( The Official Competition ) and Rodrigo Sorogoyen ( The Candidate ).
The competition premiere in Venice has launched many successful Oscar campaigns in recent years, leading to nominations and even wins. Seven times in the past nine years, a film that had its world premiere at the festival has won the Oscar for best director, including Chlo Zhao, Alfonso Cuar n, Alejandro G. I arritu, Guillermo del Toro twice and Damien Chazelle. It also debuted a handful of future Best Picture winners like Nomadland, The Shape of Water, and Birdman.
The festival has cemented several films, actors and directors as strong contenders for awards for the upcoming season. Brendan Fraser moved many to tears with his portrayal of Charlie, a reclusive, 600-pound English teacher trying to make things right with his estranged, cruel daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Cate Blanchett also won universal acclaim for her turn in TR , Todd Field’s intelligent drama about a renowned conductor at the height of her powers in the international world, whose reputation is suddenly threatened.
Apart from the awards, there was Venice for the books with high glamor from Timothée Chalamet, who stunned in a backless red halter by Haider Ackermann, and Florence Pugh, who looked like a movie star off the shoulder in sheer tulle. Valentino, who slyly evoked both classical romanticism, playful modernism and high drama, mostly around Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling.
Behind-the-scenes intrigue at Wilde’s film led to some excessive silliness as the world watched the actors’ every move to find out where people were sitting, down to who was looking at whom during the premiere.Chris Pine has even become an unlikely meme for various shots of him looking sheepish at a press conference. Then came the spit gate where onlookers turned into amateur detectives trying to figure out if Harry Styles spat on Pine before the film’s world premiere (he didn’t). As always, Venice gets people talking.