The head of this year's Venice jury Julianne Moore awarded the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion, to Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, her profile of artist Nan Goldin and her campaign against the Sackler family. It's a brilliant, committed piece of activist cinema.

The head of this year’s Venice jury Julianne Moore awarded the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion, to Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, her profile of artist Nan Goldin and her campaign against the Sackler family. It’s a brilliant, committed piece of activist cinema and a deep meditation on the role of the personal in the political.

In her speech, Poitras made a point of mentioning director Jafar Panahi, who received the Special Jury Prize for his film No Bears, even though he was unable to attend the festival due to being under arrest in Iran. Panahi was also mentioned by Luca Guadagnino, who received the prize for Best Director for his cannibal love story Bones & All, and who called for cinema to remain subversive. Another worthy winner was Alice Diop for her first narrative feature Saint Omer, which picked up Best Debut and the Silver Lion. An exploration of a criminal trial, it’s a subtle and powerful exploration on motherhood and womanhood.

The acting prizes both fell to English-language actors: Colin Farrell for his role in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin (which was also awarded Best Screenplay for McDonagh); and – in perhaps the least surprising award of their night – Cate Blanchett picked up Best Actress for her role as an orchestra conductor on the verge of a nervous breakdown in Todd Field’s Tár

There were some interesting absentees: Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale and Andrew Dominik’s Blonde being two much-discussed movies which obviously did not convince the jury. However, there’s going to be much discussion about many of these films in the months to come. A full list of all awards can be found below:

COMPETITION

Golden Lion

The Beauty and the Bloodshed; dir: Laura Poitras

Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize

Saint Omer; dir: Alice Diop

Silver Lion Best Director

Luca Guadagnino, Bones and All

Special Jury Prize

No Bears, dir: Jafar Panahi

Best Screenplay

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Tar

Best Actor

Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Marcello Mastroianni Award for for Best New Young Actor or Actress

Taylor Russell, Bones & All

HORIZONS

Best Film

World War III; dir: Houman Seyidi

Best Director

Vera; dirs: Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel

Special Jury Prize

Bread and Salt; dir: Damian Kocur

Best Actress

Vera Gemma, Vera

Best Actor

Mohsen Tanabandeh, World War III

Best Screenplay

Fernando Guzzoni, Blanquita

Best Short Film

Snow In September; dir: Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir

LION OF THE FUTURE – LUIGI DE LAURENTIIS AWARD FOR A DEBUT FILM

Saint Omer; dir: Alice Diop

HORIZONS EXTRA

Audience Award


Nezouh, dir: Soudade Kaadan

VENICE CLASSICS

Best Documentary

Fragments of Paradise; dir: KD Davison

Best Restored Film

Branded To Kill

VENICE IMMERSIVE

Best Experience

The Man Who Couldn’t Leave; dir: Chen Singing

Grand Jury Prize

From the Main Square; dir: Pedro Harres

Special Jury Prize

Eggscape; dir: German Heller

The 79th Venice Film Festival takes place from 31 August-10 September.

John Bleasdale | @drjonty