The forthcoming Oscar race has a new Best Picture favourite following the Venice Film Festival.
On Saturday (9 September), the event drew to a close with an awards ceremony honouring the best films and performances to have screened in the past two weeks.
The recipient of the festival’s top award, the Golden Lion, went to Yorghos Lanthimos director’s new film Poor Things, which stars Emma Stone. It’s Lanthimos’s first film since The Favourite, which won Olivia Colman the Oscar for Best Actress in 2019.
Its victory officially places it as a firm frontunner for Best Picture as the trophy is considered a signifier of what will go on to win trophies throughout the forthcoming awards season.
In 2020, Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland received the top prize at Venice Film Festival before winning Best Picture at the Oscars six months later. Other past recipients include Best Picture winner The Shape of Water, and nominees Roma and Joker.
Last year’s victor, Nan Goldin documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, received an Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary category, but was beaten by Navalny.
Poor Things, adapted by Tony McNamara from Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name, follows Stone’s Bella Baxter, who is brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe).
Mark Ruffalo, Ramy Youssef, Jerrod Carmichael and Christopher Abbott also star in the film, which received applause after its premiere at the festival.
It will be released in the US on 8 December, and the UK and Ireland on 12 January 2024. The film will receive its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October.
At the time of writing, other films currently considered Best Picture contenders at the 2024 Oscars include blockbusters Barbie and Oppeheimer, as well as the acclaimed drama Past Lives.
Forthcoming films also set to be in the running include new Martin Scorsese film Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, Bradley Cooper’s film about composer Leonard Bersntein, and Alexander Payne film The Holdovers.
Other top winners at Venice Film Festival include Evil Does Not Exist, the new film from Drive MY Car director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, which won the Grand Jury Prize, and Matteo Garrone, who won Best Director for Me Captain.
Agnieszka Holland’s Green Border, a drama about Europe’s other migration crisis on the Polish-Belarus border, won the Special Jury Prize.
Meanwhile, Peter Sarsgaard won Best Actor for Memory, a new film from Michel Francoco-starring Jessica Chastain, and Sofia Coppola’s portrait of the private side of Priscilla and Elvis Presley, titled Priscilla, won Cailee Spaeny the Best Actess award .
The jury was headed by Damien Chazelle and included Saleh Bakri, Jane Campion, Mia Hansen-Løve, Gabriele Mainetti, Martin McDonagh, Santiago Mitre, Laura Poitras and Shu Qi.
Additional reporting by Agencies