Just two years after Quentin Tarantino’s Venice Film Festival jury gave his ex-girlfriend Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” the top prize, the fest now faces the more criticism for apparently pulling the Golden Lion from Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” because a rule change doesn’t allow a film to win both the top prize and two other major awards.
In the case of “The Master,” it went on to win the acting prizes for Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman as well as for director, but in order to award these, the jury headed by Michael Mann apparently compromised and gave the Golden Lion to Kim Ki-duk’s “Pieta” after what was described as heated debate.
Mann essentially confirmed the compromise, noting the new Venice rules, “So we decided that a good way to give ‘The Master’ its fullest recognition was, according to a non-hierarchical principle, to give it the prize for best director and also for the actors.”
The rule, not unlike ones at Cannes, is intended to spread the wealth and not allow a single film to dominate the outcome of the festival, on the theory or philosophy that, in part, a single film does not a festival make.
But the unexpected result (at least to some) left a sour taste. Or as Deadline put it, “This is an unfortunate way to wrap up Venice for returning director Alberto Barbera.”