Cate Blanchett and Colin Farrell won the top acting prizes at the Venice International Film Festival on Saturday. Blanchett won for her performance as a renowned conductor in Todd Field’s TÁR and Farrell for playing a man who is broken up with by his longtime friend in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin.
“I’m shocked to get this and thrilled,” Farrell said in a live video message broadcast at the festival Saturday night. McDonagh was on site to collect the prize.
Bones and All-star Taylor Russell won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for the best young actress for her turn in the cannibal love story co-starring Timothée Chalamet. “I have a speech prepared because I’m nervous,” Russell said. “I’m grateful beyond belief to be standing here. So many of my heroes are in this room.”
Russell also thanked her director Luca Guadagnino. “He’s been a great friend to me and I love him so dearly.”
The 79th edition of the Venice International Film Festival came to a close Saturday evening as the jury gathered to hand out prizes to the films in competition in a ceremony hosted by Rocio Munoz Morales.
The jury, led by Julianne Moore, selected the winners from 23 films in competition that included many Oscar hopefuls. The Oscar-winner presided over a jury that included French director Audrey Diwan, whose film Happening won the Golden Lion last year, author Kazuo Ishiguro (“ Never Let Me Go”) and Iranian actor Leila Hatami ( A Separation). Also on the main jury were Italian director Leonardo Di Costanzo ( The Inner Cage) Argentinian filmmaker Mariano Cohn ( Official Competition) and Rodrigo Sorogoyen ( The Candidate).
Premiering in competition at Venice has launched many successful Oscar campaigns in recent years, leading to nominations and even wins. Seven times in the last nine years, the best director Oscar has gone to a film that world premiered at the festival, including Chloé Zhao, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro G. Iñarritu, twice, Guillermo del Toro and Damien Chazelle. It’s also debuted a handful of best picture winners like Nomadland, The Shape of Water and Birdman.
The festival cemented several films, actors and directors, as strong awards contenders for the season to come. Brendan Fraser was moved to tears for his portrayal of Charlie, a reclusive English teacher who weighs 600 pounds and is attempting to mend things with his estranged, cruel daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Cate Blanchett also got universal raves for her turn in Todd Field’s TÁR, an intelligent drama about a renowned conductor at the top of her game in the world of international whose reputation suddenly comes under threat.
Aside from awards, it was a Venice for the books, with high glamour from Timothée Chalamet, who stunned in a red backless halter neck from Haider Ackermann, and Florence Pugh, looking the part of a movie star in a sheer tulle off the shoulder Valentino that slyly evoked both classic romanticism and playful modernity, and high drama, mostly around Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling. The behind-the-scenes intrigue in Wilde’s film led to some excessive silliness as the world watched the cast’s every move for clues, from where people were seated, to who looked at who during the premiere.
Chris Pine even became an unlikely meme for various shots of him looking zoned out at a press conference. Then came “spit-gate” where onlookers turned into amateur sleuths trying to determine whether or not Harry Styles spit on Pine before the world premiere of the film. As ever, Venice gets people talking.