Oscar History

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Venice: The Golden Lion to "Pieta"

The Venice film festival has wrapped and with it come those winged lions and other elaborately shaped awards. The jury led by director Michael Mann named Kim Ki Duk's Pieta the best film in competition. It's a violent mother/son drama, the son being a loan shark. Kim Ki-Duk, best known stateside for spring, summer, fall, winter and spring (2003) is no stranger to the Venice Festival having won multiple prizes for 3-Iron (2004) eight years ago.

The winners...

Golden Lion (Picture) Pieta 
Silver Lion (Director) & Special Jury Prize (Director) there seems to be some confusion about this as Ulrich Seidl for Paradise: Faith and Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master alternate who won what in various reports
Best Actress Hadass Yaron for Fill the Void
Best Actor (Shared) Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master
Screenplay Olivier Assasyas for Apres Mai (English Title: Something in the Air)
Cinematography Daniele Cipri for E Stato Il Figlio

Best Young Actor & Best Actress

Mastroianni Award (Young Actor) Fabrizio Falco for Dormant Beauty and It Was the Son
FIPRESCI Award (Competition) The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
FIPRESCI Award (Orizzonti) The Interval (Leonardo Di Contanzo)

Orizzonti Jury Prize Tango Libre (Frédéric Fonteyne)
Luigi De Laurentiis Award (Best First Feature) Kuf: Mold (Ali Aydin)
Orrizonti: Best Feature Three Sisters (Wang Bing)
Orizzonti Jury Prize Tango Libre (Frédéric Fonteyne)
Queer Lion Weight Jeon Kyu-Hwan

a few notes...
The Weight, the winner of the Queer Lion, is about a hunchback mortician and the people in his life. Here is the NSFW trailer



IndieWire has a full lengthy list of winners since there are dozens of special awards outside the jurisduction of the main jury (including some of those prizes above). Several of these films picked up additional prizes.

Nice to hear the name "Frédéric Fonteyne" again, since he hasn't been on my radar since directing the wonderful romantic drama Une Liaison Pornographique. His new film is about a woman in a tangled relationship with three men. Must See!

PSH and the great Olivier Assayas accepting their prizes

Amusingly, news reports say that Philip Seymour Hoffman flying in at the last minute, barely arrived in time to pick up the prizes on behalf of The Master and apologized for his dishevelled appearance. You mean he's been aware of it all this time?!? The double actor win reopens the whole question of Oscar campaigns again. Will they actually let both stars compete in the leading category as they should? Can The Master leap the hurdle of critical darling Oscar problems like being more "challenging" and respected than actually warmly loved? Did There Will Be Blood set the stage for another Oscar run?

I'm kind of annoyed by The Envelope's suggestion that the jury wanted to give the Golden and Silver lion and Actor honors to The Master (sweeps not being allowed at most A grade festivals, thank god). If they really thought it was the best in every category, wouldn't they have handed it the Golden Lion? Instead let's congratulate Pieta and The Master and Paradise: Faith, all three of them winners to this jury.


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Reader Comments (11)

I think the rumor that they wanted to give The Master the top prize has pretty much become a fact at this point: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/venice-controversy-jury-yanks-top-the-master-368892. I don't know why they didn't give it the Golden Lion and swap the Silver Lion instead, but it was apparently a very heated judging session.

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

I think the PC term for category fraud is category splinting. Harvey will separate Master/Student placing the hotheaded stud/student in the lead category because he has the narrative and flash. As the case with Day-Lewis, chewing the actual celluloid his performance was shot on, Phoenix rising and surpassing the legacy of his brother, no one will feel guilty about denying a second lead nod for Hoffman, since he'll be following the footsteps of Jack Nicholson and Gene Hackman, earning their seconds in Supporting. Amy Adams maybe getting screwed this year — see Annette Bening at her fourth time at the party and Julianne Moore.

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

Ya it would appear as though the Lido Jury Debacle of 2012 really did happen so it's hard to fault anyone for pointing out what a shame the whole thing is. Even if you don't care which award The Master was ultimately given its probably not much fun to know you won the Golden Lion on a technicality. Also it would appear as though the Master won the Silver Lion, not the Special Jury Prize as you've indicated.

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCasey Fiore

It makes no sense. If this were true, why didn't the jury gave the Golden Lion to The Master and the Silver Lion to Pietá? If they really wated to give the prize to The Master, it'd be easy: just give the Silver Lion to any other movie.

Pietà didn't win on a technicality. The jury decided it was the best movie, when it could have chosen otherwise.

And, if they changed their minds, that what is a jury for. To debate their opinions.

I am not a fon of Kim Ki-Duk, but this whole talk is so annoying. Because you know, The Master wasn't robbed or something. Whatever a jury decides is fair. And the anti-sweep rules are always fair, sorry.


September 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

cal roth--

Did you read the Hollywood Reporter link that I posted? It specifically states that the jury had decided to give the gold and silver prizes to The Master before being "asked to re-deliberate to remove one of the awards." The jury didn't change its mind and decide that Pieta was the best movie; it was specifically told that the way it voted wasn't going to be accepted, and they were going to have to re-vote.

I don't have a problem with the final decision (although I'm not entirely sure why they didn't give Pieta the Silver Lion, but I'm sure they had their reasons), and I completely agree that sweeps at festivals are unnecessary. But the facts are out there. There is basically no way that this doesn't qualify as a technicality. What you're saying is simply not true.

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

Well, I can see only one reason of rewarding "Pieta" INSTEAD of "The Master" in the final voting (if they thought that "The Master" is the best) - they REALLY, REALLY wanted to reward Phoenix and Seymour-Hoffman - and they could not if they chose this movie and gave it the Golden Lion. But IMO it can't be the reason at all. Look at Cannes. You might think that not giving prizes to Riva and Trintignant for "Amour" was unfair but the jury chose "Amour" for Golden Palm so they could not give them those awards - and (because they thought that "Amour" was truly the best) they had no problems with such decision. If Venice jury thought that "The Master" is really better than "Pieta" they would choose "The Master". To me all those "THR" informations look like the American need to confirm your own opinion abour yourselves that you are the best and none Korean director could beat you if the "technicality" wasn't the problem.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

I'm glad that Phoenix won Best Actor, even if ex-aequo with his co-star

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

Someone: So you think the hollywood reporter was just like "Man, I really wanted an American movie to win the top prize, so let's just fabricate a story saying it did!" You sometimes need to think before you post.

I'm actually anti-anti-sweeps rules. Now don't get me wrong, I hate how the Oscars practically always assume the best picture is the best directed picture (and so on to other undeserved category wins), but if a movie really is the best in a category, it should win. The "spreading the wealth" argument just leads to little mental asterisks wherein many assume the winner is not actually the "winner." If organizations really don't see the difference between best directed and best picture, they should get rid of the category. Best (or should I say favorite) is best, not "best, but only after eliminating the real best for being the best in another category."

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I don't understand how someone that is so dedicated to following awards says "thank God" at the sight of... the best work in one category not being able to receive a prize because the best work in another category was part of the same movie? Really? Ok, then.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranonymooz

Adam: "So you think the hollywood reporter was just like "Man, I really wanted an American movie to win the top prize, so let's just fabricate a story saying it did!"
Yes, I think that THR was like that. :P But apart from this I completely agree with your statement: the rules that stop movie from winning prizes they deserve are stupid.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

anonymooz -- i just think it's s sign of laziness when people assume the best this is the best that. it's a really easy trap to fall into as we see with Oscar. so it's best, especially in such a prestigious arena, to reinforce nuanced critical thinking. plus it's also just good politics for the festivals since they want the acclaimed filmmakers back.

September 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R
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