Venice Film Festival: ‘The Master’ Wins Best Director, Actor, But Misses Top Prize

The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film loosely based on the early days of Scientology, walked away from the Venice Film Festival with several big awards. The Golden Lion For Best Picture, however, went to the South Korean movie Pieta.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Master was pulled out of the running for best picture due to the film festivals strict rules.

The winner of The Golden Lion for Best Picture is not allowed to win any other awards at the festival, and since Anderson was given the Silver Lion for best director, and Phillip Seymor Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix split the award for best actor, The Master was not eligible for the top prize.

British juror Samantha Morton said:

“It’s very hard for the jury… ‘If you give the Golden Lion to something, you cannot give it another award at all. You can’t give it (best) actor, you can’t give it (the) cinematography (award).”

The jury gave best director to Paul Thomas Anderson and decided that Hoffman and Phoenix both deserved the best actor award.

Hoffman said:

“Joaquin Phoenix is a life force in this film… and I kind of rode that life force and that was my performance. It was really riding his life force because it was something that was untameable and my job was to try to and it was almost impossible, which is kind of the movie.”

Pieta, a film that follows a violent debt collector who is deceived by a stranger, won the Golden Lion for best film. Paradise: Faith took home the special jury prize and Olivier Assayas won the best screenplay award for Something in the Air.

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