‘Roma’ Wins Golden Lion At Venice Film Festival

The Venice Film Festival has finally come to a close, and while there were very few surprises in the awards, they did help establish a wonderful fall season to come.

In the safest (but most exciting) choice of all, Alfonso Cuarón’s soulful, personal Roma has claimed the Golden Lion as the best film of the festival. I can list a million reasons why the film won – Cuarón and Jury President Guillermo del Toro are old friends, the film is a visual cornucopia, and Cuarón is long overdue for festival love – but above all, it helps that Roma is the film everyone loves. It is a critical hit and a festival hit, and not only serves as a major victory for Netflix, but an encouraging sign for the Oscar season to come. Speaking of Netflix, they also found success with the newest Coen Brother flick The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. While the film received mixed reviews for its execution, the screenplay has received acclaim for its anthological layout, and the Jury has awarded it tonight.

Outside of Netflix, the biggest winner of the night is Yorgos LanthimosThe Favourite, which won the runner-up Grand Jury Prize. However, this may have been a strategic choice by the Jury: Venice rules dictate that the film that wins the Golden Lion is ineligible from every other category. This means that while Lanthimos’ slick, sadistic satire couldn’t win the Top prize, it could feasibly win more than one award. This made way for Olivia Colman to win her first major award for her work as Queen Anne, a decision that thrills those of us that have known about Colman’s talents for years. Meanwhile, the Volpi Cup for Best Actor went to Willem Dafoe for bringing a soul to the famous painter Vincent van Gogh, the first major award the actor has ever received. Time will tell if he manages to sneak into the Best Actor field this year, let alone win, but we can all take a moment to revel in the fact that one of the best actors alive has finally received the recognition he deserves. And the third most popular film of the festival, The Sisters Brothers, didn’t go home empty handed either, taking home the Silver Lion for best Direction for Jacques Audiard.

I will be writing more about what this all means next week, after we see how Toronto responds to many of these films. In the meantime, you can see the major winners below, from the top down.

Golden Lion: Roma by Alfonso Cuarón
Grand Jury Prize: The Favourite by Yorgo Lanthimos
Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate
Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Olivia Colman – The Favourite
Silver Lion for Best Director: Jacques Audiard – The Sisters Brothers
Best Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Special Jury Prize: The Nightingale by Jennifer Kent
Macello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor: Baykali Ganambarr – The Nightingale
FIPRESCI Award: Sunset by László Nemes
Best Documentary: The Great Buster: A Celebration by Peter Bogdanovich

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