Monday, September 12, 2011

Venice Film Festival 2011

I forgot to mention that the prizes for the Venice Film Festival were handed out this weekend as well. Darren Aronofsky's jury selected Alexander Sokurov's Faust, a 19th-century-set retelling of Goethe's most famous work, for the Gold Lion. The Silver Lion for Best Director went to Cai Shangjun for People Mountain, People Sea (Ren shan ren hai). The Volpi Acting cups went to Michael Fassbender for Shame and Deanie Ip for A Simple Life.

Fassbender, Ip (on right)

What does this mean in terms of Oscar? Well, I doubt Faust is going to be a Best Picture player, if it even gets US distribution in time for qualification. However, the buzz around other in-competition films such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Carnage, The Ides of March, and A Dangerous Method means that we now have a better idea of how they'll play (The Ides of March still looks safe, but mixed reviews for the others means we'll have to see how they do here). Shame, which was favored by many to win the Gold Lion, certainly has a higher profile now; when Steve McQueen's sex-addiction drama gets US distribution, expect it to come up in the Oscar conversation, though it'll probably be too difficult a film to break through.

Meanwhile, this acting prize for Fassbender will only help him. He's been wowing audiences all year in everything from Jane Eyre to X-Men: First Class, and though I'm not sure he can get awards traction for Shame, the higher-profile will certainly help his chances for A Dangerous Method, easily his most Oscar-friendly role this year. Could he earn his first Oscar nomination this year? We'll find out soon enough.

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