‘The Shape of Water’ Wins the Golden Lion at the 74th Venice Film Festival
As all eyes turn to the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, it's worth remembering that another major film festival is just now announcing its big winners. That would be the 74th Annual Venice Film Festival, the oldest major film festival and home to several of this year's most enticing fall movies. Whether you prefer your films to have dark humor, biting social commentary, or underwater monsters falling in love with women who can't speak, odds are good there was something for everyone in Italy this past week.
And while I’m as loathe as anyone to distill the cultural impact of international film festivals down to their effect on the Academy Awards, it is worth noting that the Venice Film Festival has become something of a harbinger for Oscar season success. In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter noted that Venice had offered the world premiere for a slew of Oscar contenders in recent years, including Gravity, Birdman, Spotlight, and, with the benefit of hindsight on our part, La La Land. This year’s list of premieres, courtesy of Variety, includes movies like Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which took home the Golden Lion.
Here are the In Competition winners from the festival (via Variety):
The Shape of Water, dir: Guillermo del Toro
GRAND JURY PRIZE
Foxtrot, dir: Samuel Maoz
SILVER LION FOR BEST DIRECTOR
Xavier Legrand, Custody
VOLPI CUP FOR BEST ACTRESS
Charlotte Rampling, Hannah
VOLPI CUP FOR BEST ACTOR
Kamel El Basha, The Insult
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Sweet Country, Warwick Thornton
And again, while it’s probably a little too early for most of us to start thinking about award season, keep these films, filmmakers, and actors jotted down somewhere for future consideration. Your own Oscar shortlist will have to start somewhere, and the Venice Film Festival is as good a place to begin as any.