Palme d’Or winner and Oscar nominee Kore-eda Hirokazu’s latest drama starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke will open the 2019 Venice Film Festival, organizers announced today.
Kore-eda is no stranger to the world’s oldest film festival, having premiered his directorial debut MABOROSI on the Lido back in 1995 and most recently competed in 2017 with THE THIRD MURDER. He won the top prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival with the heartbreaking family drama SHOPLIFTERS, which went on to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film (now Best International Feature Film).
Venice has, of course, established itself in recent years as a premier launching pad for films with Oscar aspirations. And the festival opener has that added symbolic significance, not to mention undivided media attention which translates to the kind of publicity you can’t buy. Since 2010, the nine opening films of Venice have claimed a total of 43 Oscar nominations, including 4 Best Picture nominees:
2010 Black Swan (5 noms, including BP)
2011 The Ides of March (1 nom)
2012 The Reluctant Fundamentalist
2013 Gravity (10 noms, including BP)
2014 Birdman (9 noms, including BP)
2016 La La Land (14 noms, including BP)
2018 First Man (4 noms)
The track record is so staggering, in fact, that FIRST MAN, an Oscar winner with multiple nominations, was sometimes perceived as an underachiever last year.
It’s notable that Venice chose to open this year with a (presumably predominantly) non-English language film, a first since 2009. This could mean limited/little Oscar play – unless somehow France manages to submit it last minute (unlikely).
One thing’s for sure though. With two of the première dames of French cinema in attendance, that opening night red carpet is going to be glamorous AF (cue seething Cannes director Thierry Frémaux who probably would have given an organ or two to land this party-starter).
The 76th Venice Film Festival kicks off on August 28th. The full lineup will be unveiled in a week’s time on July 25th.