Sources say the jury was set to award the Golden Lion to the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed feature, but because of a quirk in the rules has decided to give the award instead to Korean director Kim Ki-duk's Pieta.
It seems the jury at the Venice Film Festival liked The Master way too much.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the jury, led by American filmmaker Michael Mann, was set to award the Golden Lion, the festival's top prize, to the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed feature, but because of a quirk in the festival's rules has decided to give the award instead to Korean director Kim Ki-duk's Pieta.
The awards are bring announced Saturday in Venice.
Apparently during the jury's first deliberations members decided to give The Master the top prize, as well as the Silver Lion directing award to Anderson and the acting award jointly to co-stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Another international critics prize was also heaped on Master.)
But new festival rules apparently prohibit one film from garnering more than two major awards, so the jury was asked to re-deliberate to remove one of the award. After what a source described as a heated session, the jury decided to take the Golden Lion away from Master and give it to Pieta.
The last-minute shift isn't entirely surprising for the world's oldest film festival, which has a history of rewarding odd films and making peculiar decisions. The new rules are said to have been instituted recently. Alberto Barbera took over as artistic director this year from Marco Mueller.
The filmmakers have been informed of the change, according to a source. A call to Barbera was not immediately returned.
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.
complete list of winners
tl;dr the jury wanted to give The Master all of the awards, they weren’t able to because of the new rules (one film can’t receive more than two major awards or something), so they gave PT Anderson the Silver Lion and PSH/Joaquin Phoenix are sharing the Best Actor, and they gave the Golden Lion to someone else. I've heard good things about Pieta, so congrats to the director tbh, even if I'm pretty much stanning for this movie and every one involved.