Words

David Jenkins

@daveyjenkins

Venice Film Festival 2019: the awards

As Lucrecia Martel's jury deliver their verdict, here's a rundown of all who won the big prizes on the Lido this year.

In the world of cinema, there are but three major festivals which, for reasons known only to the film industry, lord above all others. That’s Berlin, which happens in February. Cannes, which is May. And Venice, which is August. And the prize announcement at Venice, in its own way, caps off another year of world cinema world premieres, with a few scattered titles yet to descend from the chute as festival season merges into award season.

The 2019 Venice Festival was not, alas, a vintage year in terms of its main competition slate. True, it offered a palmful of extremely great films, such as James Gray’s Ad Astra and Roy Andersson’s About Endlessness, some excellent ones such as Václav Marhoul divisive The Painted Bird, Pablo Larrain’s Ema and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, and some titles which will certainly make personal top 10 lists come tabulation season, such as Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth.

Lucrecia Martel headed up this year’s main jury, and the maker of Zama and The Headless Woman doesn’t make guesswork easy when it comes to predicting the main prizes. To be honest, prior to the announcement, I had absolutely no idea which way things were going to go, mainly due to the fact that the competition consisted of such a stylistically diverse crop of films, that comparing them to one another was a fool’s errand.

And this is, perhaps in all my years as a film journalist, the strangest, most obtuse set of awards possible. I mean, really, really weird. The only film we really cared for on this list is Andersson’s impeccable About Endlessness. Joker, meanwhile, is godawful. It took the main prize. Happy awards season!

Golden Lion: Joker by Todd Phillips. Our review
Silver Lion: An Officer and a Spy by Roman Polanski
Silver Lion best director: Roy Andersson for About Endlessness. Our review
Best Actress: Ariane Ascardi for Gloria Mundi
Best Actor: Luca Marinelli for Martin Eden
Best Screenplay: No. 7 Cherry Lane by Yonfan
Special Jury Prize: The Mafia is No Longer What it Used to Be by Franco Maresco
Marcello Mastroianni Award for new talent: Toby Wallace, Babyteeth. Our review

Published 7 Sep 2019

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