Venice has launched many Oscar contenders, including Stephen Frears' "The Queen," Joe Wright's "Atonement," George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck," and Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan."
Bertolucci was chosen by the Board of Directors of the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta, on the recommendation of Alberto Barbera, the Director of the Venice Film Festival, who stated:
“Very few directors can claim a lifetime experience so passionately committed to contemporary cinema like Bertolucci’s. His work has explored with insatiable curiosity the world around us and the ever evolving language of film, discovering and bringing to our attention what’s most vital and beautiful. Such commitment to “the present” is one of the finest services that cinema can render to itself and is one of the many reasons why Bertolucci is the ideal Jury President. I am delighted he has generously accepted this delicate and important role.”
The winner of the only Italian director to win the Best Picture Oscar, for "The Last Emperor," which is being rereleased in 3-D, Bertolucci is serving for the second time on the Venice jury, he reminds: "In 1983 the Venice Film Festival was celebrating its 40th edition. My jury, composed almost entirely of directors, could not help but award the Golden Lion to Jean-Luc Godard, to whom we all owed so much and who had never won an important prize in his life. At the time what I wanted from films was surprise and enjoyment. I haven't changed much since then.”
In 2003, at the 60th edition of the Venice Film Festival, Bertlucci presented "The Dreamers"; in 2007 he was attributed the Golden Lion of the 75th, an award instituted to celebrate the Venice Film Festival’s 75th anniversary (from its first edition in 1932).
Bertolucci made his debut as a director in Venice with "The Grim Reaper" ("La commare secca," 1962), and the year before he had been at the Venice Film Festival as the assistant director for Pier Paolo Pasolini’s directorial debut in "Accattone" (1961). Subsequently, other important works by Bertolucci had their world premiere screenings at the Lido: "Partner" (1968), "The Spider’s Stratagem" ("Strategia del ragno," 1970), and "Luna" ("La luna," 1979). In 2011 Bertolucci presented the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Marco Bellocchio.
His most recent film "Me and You" ("Io e te," 2012) played at the Cannes Film Festival, which in 2011 awarded Bertolucci the Honorary Palme d’Or for lifetime achievement.
On closing night of the 70th Venice Film Festival (7 September 2013), the international Jury of nine will award the following official prizes to the feature-length films in Competition: