One thing that I learned about the Venice Film Festival this weekend – they give out a LOT of awards. The recipients of their bountiful amount of kudos have been announced and the biggest winners are Aleksandr Sokurov’s Faust and Steve McQueen’s Shame. Despite the fact that this year’s Venice Film Festival was chock full of high profile releases and Oscar hopefuls including Carnage, A Dangerous Method, The Ides of March, and others, the Venice jury has chosen a controversial film with a mixed reception. Aleksandr Sokurov’s adaptation of Goethe’s Faust was well-loved by Darren Aronofsky and his Venice jury, but according to In Contention‘s Venice correspondent Guy Lodge, the critics were not as infatuated with the film.
Making a bigger splash then the Golden Lion winner this year, however, is Michael Fassbender who took home the Coppa Volpi for being the Best Actor at the Festival for his performance in Shame. Fassbender was a major presence at this year’s Festival with leading roles in David Cronenbgerg’s A Dangerous Method and Steve McQueen’s Shame. The latter film was highly anticipated, but not on too many Awards radars. In the last decade winners of this Award have included future Oscar nominees such as Javier Bardem for Before Night Falls, David Strathairn for Good Night, and Good Luck, Brad Pitt for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Colin Firth for A Single Man. The victory by Fassbender does not necessarily guarantee him an Oscar nomination, but it does get his name in the conversation and based on the incredible year he has already been having, I’d say it makes him a frontrunner.
The other notable award was the Osella Prize for Best Cinematography that went to Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights. Many critics were highly praising of Arnold’s third feature film directing effort and the technical aspects of the film were among the highest recipients of praise. The film still has an indeterminate U.S. release date, but I suspect this attention will inspire an American distributor to pick it up and get it released before the end of 2011.
Below is a selection from the Awards that were given out in Venice. For the entire list check out In Contention:
Venice Film Festival Awards 2011
Golden Lion (Best Film)
Silver Lion (Best Director)
Cai Shangjun, Ren shan ren hai (People Mountain People Sea)
Coppa Volpi (Best Actor)
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Coppa Volpi (Best Actress)
Deanie Yip, Tao Jie (A Simple Life)
Special Jury Prize
Osella (Best Screenplay)
Alps (Giorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou)
Osella (Best Cinematography)
Wuthering Heights (Robbie Ryan)