Update: Well, now it's a little clearer what Mann was talking about -- according to The Hollywood Reporter's sources, the jury wanted to give "The Master" the Golden Lion as well, but were told that they couldn't give one film more than two major awards. After some deliberation, it was decided to give "Pieta" the top prize, and "The Master" the two others. It all sounds like a bit of a clusterfuck, frankly, but it's not going to hurt the film's Oscar chances one bit...
Most of the press have long since departed Venice for Toronto, or at least other parts of the world, but before the Lido clears out entirely, there's the business of handing out some awards. It's been a competitive year, certainly, but one with a few hotly tipped pictures, and when jury president Michael Mann took to the stage, he made clear that nothing would sweep the board; only one award per film would be given, something of the norm at film festivals. As it turns out, he was fibbing...
The big prize, the Golden Lion, was one widely predicted by many prognosticators (including in our own review of the film), Kim Ki-Duk's brutal mother-son revenge movie "Pieta," which went down a storm at the critic's screening we attended at the festival. Its biggest competition was probably Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" and that didn't do too badly either, picking up Best Director (originally announced that way, then swapped over with the Special Jury Prize, and then seemingly swapped back again -- it's been a bit of a disaster all around...), and Best Actor, shared between Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, making it a movie that won two awards. Damn your poker face, Mann!
As for Best Director (or the Silver Lion), when the confusion was cleared up, it was awarded to Ulrich Seidl, for his controversial, throughly enjoyable (sort of) "Paradise: Faith," while Best Actress went to the young star of Israeli film "Fill The Void," Hadas Yaron. Meanwhile, Italian film "It Was The Son" (which we didn't see) also picked up two awards, winning the Best Young Actor prize for Fabrizio Falco, who also appeared in "Dormant Beauty," and for technical achievement, curiously awarded to director Daniele Cipri (the award generally goes to below-the-line talent, although Cipri does serve as his own DoP, we believe). Meanwhile, Olivier Assayas' very good "Something in the Air" picked up Best Screenplay, and Wang Bing's "Three Sisters" came top in the Orrizonti sidebar.
You can read the full list of awards below, and the mind-bogglingly large list of side awards and offshoots (Courtesy of In Contention) on the next page, and catch up with our complete reviews from Venice here. All in all, a pretty good start to awards season for "The Master," even if it missed out on the top prize...
Golden Lion (Best Picture)
"Pieta," Kim-Ki Duk
Silver Lion (Best Director)
Paul Thomas Anderson - "The Master"
Volpi Cup - Best Actor
Joaquin Phoenix & Philip Seymour Hoffman - "The Master"
Volpi Cup - Best Actress
Hadas Yaron - "Fill The Void"
Special Jury Award
Ulrich Seidl - "Paradise: Faith"
Mastroianni Award - Best Young Actor
Fabrizio Falco - "Dormant Beauty," "It Was The Son"
Olivier Assayas - "Something In The Air"
Daniele Cipri - "Il Stato E Figlio,"
Luigi De Laurentiis Award (Best First Feature)
"Kuf: Mold," Ali Aydin
Orrizonti: Best Feature
"Three Sisters," Wang Bing
Orrizonti: Jury Prize
"Tango Libre," Frederic Fonteyne