Full List of Winners at the Venice Film Festival 2021
The 78th edition of the Venice Film Festival featured some of the year's most exciting features, with its awards setting the stage for the end-of-year's biggest award contenders.
After a triumphant return post-pandemic, the Venice Film Festival turned off the projectors last night after announcing its winners.
For 10 days, Venice produced memorable moments on the red carpets which made waves in the press, and excitement mounted at films playing both in and out of competition, such as the ambitious Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune and Edgar Wright’s luxurious thriller Last Night in Soho.
Headed this year by Palme d'Or Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho with the participation of last year's Golden Lion winner Chloe Zhao and others, the Biennale’s jury watched -and most certainly enjoyed- 21 films that remind us of the beauty we missed during the pandemic. They probably had a hard time choosing which films should win in which category, but when it came to the recipient of the Golden Lion, the festival’s highest honor, the decision was unanimous.
French-Lebanese filmmaker Audrey Diwan received the Golden Lion for her film L'Evènement (Happening) based on the autobiographical book by French writer Annie Ernaux. It portrays the story of a student in the ‘60s trying to discreetly get an abortion.
The feminine intimacy displayed throughout the film made it a hit amongst the jury members who voted unanimously in favor of awarding it the highest prize. It is notable that this is Diwan’s second feature film only after her debut in 2019 with Losing It.
Silver Lion - Grand Jury Prize
Italian maverick Paolo Sorrentino received the Grand Jury Prize for his film È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God), a beautiful memoir set in ‘80s Naples. Reveling in unique imagery and sentiments, the film is due for a Netflix release on December 15 for audiences worldwide and is expected to garner some additional international awards.
Silver Lion - Best Director
Jane Campion, whose big-screen directorial efforts came back after a long hiatus, won Best Director for her neo-western The Power of the Dog, depicting the rivalry of two Montana rancher brothers played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemmons. A gritty modern take on the genre, it will be released on Netflix on December 1 after a limited theatrical release on November 17.
Coppa Volpi - Best Actor
Filipino actor Jay Arcilla was awarded best actor for his leading role in Erik Matti's crime thriller On the Job: The Missing 8. In the sequel to the 2013 film On the Job, Arcilla plays a corrupt reporter for a local newspaper who gets involved in an investigation after his colleagues mysteriously disappear. The film’s staggering runtime, 208 minutes, showcased the actor’s forte in maintaining screen presence. It will be released as miniseries on HBO Asia today, 12 September.
Coppa Volpi - Best Actress
Spanish icon Penélope Cruz received the Best Actress title for her performance in auteur Pedro Almodovar’s Madres Parallelas (Parallel Mothers). In a performance highly praised by critics, Cruz played a successful photographer who suddenly falls pregnant, and subsequently bonds with another about-to-become single mother. The film, which opened the Venice festival, is being released on December 24.
Special Jury Prize
Il Buco, the Italian film directed by Michelangelo Frammartino, won the Special Jury Prize. The film recounts the story of explorers venturing into one of the world’s deepest caves, located 700 meters beneath the surface in the Calabrian hinterland, Southern Italy.
Golden Osella – Best Screenplay
Hollywood actress Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut The Lost Daughter received a four-minute standing ovation…and a best screenplay award. Adapted from Elena Ferrante’s novel, the film stars Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, and Dakota Johnson and focuses on an academic’s journey to self-rediscovery and motherhood.
Marcello Mastroianni Award – Best Newcomer Actor/Actress
The award, named after Fellini’s muse Marcello Mastroianni, was given to Filippo Scotti for his role of Fabietto in Paolo Sorrentino's È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God). He is being dubbed as Italy’s next iconic young star.