Venice Film Festival winners: ‘The Shape of Water’ wins Golden Lion, but will Oscar follow?

The 74th Venice Film Festival was held from August 30 to September 9, 2017, and it serves as a launchpad for the fall awards season. The grand prize at this international fest held in Italy is the Golden Lion, and this year that award went to “The Shape of Water” by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. Is that good news for the film at the Oscars next winter? Perhaps, but not necessarily.

This year’s main competition was judged by a jury that was led by Annette Bening and also included actors Rebecca Hall, Anna Mouglalis, and Jasmine Trinca; filmmakers Ildiko Enyedi, Michel Franco, Edgar Wright, and Yonfan; and film critic David Stratton. That’s an elite international coalition, but the tastes of Venice’s juries don’t always sync up with the motion picture academy. The last Golden Lion winner to contend for Oscars was Darren Aronofsky‘s “The Wrestler” (2008). Before that the sporadic Oscar contenders to win in Venice included “Short Cuts” (1993) “Michael Collins” (1996), “Vera Drake” (2004), and “Brokeback Mountain” (2005).

The Shape of Water” premiered on August 31 at the festival to rave reviews. The fairy tale set in 1962 stars Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”) as a mute janitor at a government facility where she befriends a creature who is being subjected to experiments. Director Del Toro previously earned an Oscar bid for his screenplay for “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006), and in his career he has also helmed a wide array of projects, including the blockbusters “Hellboy” (2004) and “Pacific Rim” (2013), the supernatural thriller “Crimson Peak” (2015), and the animated series “Trollhunters,” for which he won an Emmy earlier this year.

Other noteworthy winners included Charlotte Rampling (“Hannah”) for Best Actress, Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) for Best Screenplay, and Charlie Plummer (“Lean on Pete”) for Best New Young Actor or Actress. Check out the complete list of winners below.


Golden Lion
The Shape Of Water, dir: Guillermo del Toro

Grand Jury Prize
Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz

Silver Lion, Best Director
Xavier Legrand, Jusqu’à La Garde

Volpi Cup, Best Actress
Charlotte Rampling, Hannah

Volpi Cup, Best Actor
Kamel El Basha, The Insult

Best Screenplay
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Special Jury Prize
Sweet Country, dir: Warwick Thornton

Marcello Mastroianni Award for for Best New Young Actor or Actress
Charlie Plummer, Lean On Pete


Best Film
Nico, 1988, dir: Susanna Nicchiarelli

Best Director
Vahid Jalilvand, No Date, No Signature

Special Jury Prize
Caniba, dirs: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel

Best Actress
Lyna Khoudri, Les Bienheureux

Best Actor
Navid Mohammadzadeh, No Date, No Signature

Best Screenplay
Los Versos Del Olvido, dir: Alireza Khatami

Best Short Film
Gros Chagrin, dir: Céline Devaux

Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film
Jusqu’à La Garde, dir: Xavier Legrand


Best Restoration
Idi I Smotri, dir: Elem Klimov

Best Documentary on Cinema
The Prince And The Dybbuk, dirs: Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosolowski


Best VR
Arden’s Wake (Expanded), dir: Eugene YK Chung

Best VR Experience
La Camera Insabbiata, dirs: Laurie Anderson, Hsin-Chien Huang

Best VR Story
Bloodless, dir: Gina Kim

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