Ang Lee's NC-17 rated love saga Lust, Caution took home the top prize at this year's Venice Film Festival. This is very good early buzz for a film that many would have probably written off (i.e. the Academy) because of it's sexual content. Some good reviews and few critics awards and you could be looking at a potential run for an Oscar nod, more than likely for Lee's directing. The big shock of the festival was the Best Director Award being given to Brain DePalma for Redacted though. DePalma is consistently underrated and overlooked when it comes to Oscars, so maybe this will be the jump start he needs to make things interesting.
The Grand Jury Prize was shared between Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan bio-pic I'm Not There, and La Graine et Le Mulet. I'm Not There in particular is looking like it is going to be a critics darling. The film also produced an award for Cate Blanchett, one of 6 actors who portray the iconic singer-songwriter in the film. This seems more like a supporting performance to me, which is probably how the Academy will look at it. But look for Blanchett to score 2 nods this year, one for I'm Not There and one for her lead role in the very bait-y Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
In another surprise, the Best Actor award was given to Brad Pitt, for his turn in the highly anticipated The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It seems like it is harder for Pitt to score Oscar nods than anyone (remember the Babel snub last year?), but his chances just got a heck of lot better. Here is a list of the top prizes and their recipients:
The Golden Lion (Best Film): Lust, Caution
The Silver Lion (Best Director): Brian DePalma, Rendition
Grand Jury Prize: I'm Not There and La Graine et Le Mulet
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Best Screenplay: It's a Free World
Read the full list of winners here.