Two hot Oscar prospects — "Beasts of No Nation" and "The Danish Girl" — were among the 21 films in competition at this year''s Venice film festival. However, the jury headed up by Oscar champ Alfonso Cuaron awarded the Golden Lion to "Desde allá" (“From Afar”), a Venezuelan gay-themed drama from first-time director Lorenzo Vigas. Pablo Trapero won the Silver Lion for Best Director for "El Clan" ("The Clan"), a crime thriller from Argentina. And Charlie Kaufman's animated feature "Anomalisa," which is still seeking distribution, won the Jury Grand Prize.
Last year the top award here went to the Swedish comedy "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence" over, among others, "Birdman." Even so, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's examination of an aging action star (Michael Keaton) looking to jumpstart his flagging movie career went on to sweep the Oscars.
Curaon won the Best Director Oscar two years ago for "Gravity," which was launched on the Lido. His jury included two actors — Elizabeth Banks and Diane Kruger — and six more directors: Emmanuel Carrère (France), Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey), Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland), Francesco Munzi (Italy), Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Taiwan) and Lynne Ramsay (Scotland).
The other winners at the 72nd annual edition of the Venice film festival were:
Best Actor: Fabrice Luchini, “Courted”
Best Actress: Valeria Golino, “Per amor vostro”
Marcello Mastroianni Award (Best Young Actor): Abraham Attah, “Beasts of No Nation
Best Screenplay: Christian Vincent, “Courted”
Luigi de Laurentiis Award (Best Debut Feature): “The Childhood of a Leader,” Brady Corbett