Download:: 2023 Venice Dispatch: Will Win / Should Win
Having now seen all 23 films in competition at the 80th Venice Film Festival (including two top-tier ones that screened this morning), it’s time for our 100% scientific guesswork.
Last year, my predictions/personal faves strongly aligned with the picks of Julianne Moore’s jury (the TASTE of that group). Will this happen again with the Damien Chazelle-led jury, or will it be more of a Kristen Stewart type situation where it’s just one disappointment after another?
Best Young Performer
Will win: Seydou Sarr (IO CAPITANO)
Should win: Seydou Sarr (IO CAPITANO)
For my money, this one is Sarr’s to lose. Io Capitano is one of the best films of the competition and he’s the soul and beating heart of the drama/adventure. Even in a lineup that features a particularly large number of impressive young performers, it’s hard to find a more deserving winner.
His competition comes in the form of:
– Laura Bilgrau Eskild-Jensen (The Promised Land)
– Cathalina Geeraerts (Holly)
– Rebecca Antonaci (Finally Dawn)
– Cailee Spaeny (Priscilla)
If Sarr somehow doesn’t win here, I’d say watch out for Best Actor.
Will win: EVIL DOES NOT EXIST
Should win: OUT OF SEASON
The last two competition films that premiered today are both bona fide contenders in this category. Michel Franco’s New York-set mystery/drama Memory builds on an intriguing premise and goes to some dark, surprising places. The script is contained but packs unexpected punches. Then there’s Stéphane Brizé’s Out of Season, which screened at the tail end of the festival and casually broke my heart in a million pieces. Think a both funnier and sadder version of Past Lives where Nora and Hae Sung hook up one last time (God bless the French). It’s a devastatingly romantic film that soars on the strength of a sharply observed script and a couple of superb lead performances (especially from Alba Rohrwacher, more below).
True, the film “only” addresses the unresolved feelings between two former lovers and not grander, weightier issues of the world. Which is, to me, no reason to discount its artistic merits, but as far as predictions go, I would give the edge to a film like Evil Does Not Exist, which is beautifully written, dazzles with a truly mysterious ending, and touches on questions of the environment and nature. Wouldn’t be a bad winner by any means.
Will win: Mads Mikkelsen (THE PROMISED LAND)
Should win: Michael Fassbender (THE KILLER)
Luc Besson’s Dogman has been trashed by critics but I stand by my initial take that it’s a fun ride, did exactly what it set out to do, and Caleb Landry Jones delivered a tremendous, frighteningly committed star-turn. I’d respect any jury that singles this performance out. Same goes for Michael Fassbender in David Fincher’s The Killer, a genre film which doesn’t seek to reinvent the wheel but does its thing to ruthless perfection. The fully internalized, minutely precise performance by Fassbender gets my vote for the Coppa Volpi. Having said that, I do think Mikkelsen, who is as brilliant as always and brings a tragic hero nobly to life in The Promised Land, stands a better chance than both in terms of the type of performances that attracts jury attention.
Elsewhere, Bradley Cooper (Maestro) and Franz Rogowski (Lubo) are also possibilities, with Seydou Sarr (Io Capitano) as potential spoiler.
Will win: Alba Rohrwacher (OUT OF SEASON)
Should win: Alba Rohrwacher (OUT OF SEASON)
A very competitive category this year as we have at least 9 legitimate contenders for the prize, including:
– Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (Origin)
– Carey Mulligan (Maestro)
– Emma Stone (Poor Things)
– Léa Seydoux (The Beast)
– Jessica Chastain (Memory)
– Cailee Spaeny (Priscilla)
– Maja Ostaszewska (Green Border)
– Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik (Woman Of…)
When I saw Alba Rohrwacher in Out of Season this morning, however, the race was over for me. Always, and I do mean always, a welcome presence on screen, Rohrwacher was given a role that’s worthy of her talent in Brizé’s shattering romantic drama and she hit an absolute homerun. Playing a woman who relives old affections, resentments and doubts when she meets her movie star ex-boyfriend years after a bitter break-up, she is mesmerizing to watch. Remember Diane Lane and her post-sex reverie scene on the subway in Unfaithful? Rohrwacher brings that level of interiority and so much more to a performance for the ages. The way she delivers the last line of the film? Might have wrecked me in some irreparable way.
As noted above, festival juries are known to dismiss “frivolous”, “conventional” films that don’t talk about bigger things than just feelings, but in this case I’m going to just trust my gut. I would be so happy if what Rohrwacher did here is seen and recognized.
Will win: Bertrand Bonello (THE BEAST)
Should win: David Fincher (THE KILLER)
This is the most intriguing category to me. Who will win the favor of such a director-heavy jury (including Chazelle, Jane Campion, Martin McDonagh, Laura Poitras and Mia Hansen-Løve) for direction?
My reasoning for betting on Bonello is two-fold: 1) I suspect Poor Things, Green Border and Io Capitano will win the 3 top prizes and the jury would want to spread the wealth and recognize a film outside of the three here; 2) the jury that’s almost entirely made up of filmmakers would be susceptible to bold, artistically challenging directorial vision. By these criteria, Bonello, Hamaguchi or maybe Timm Kröger (The Theory of Everything) or Pablo Larraín (El Conde) would fit the bill.
As for me personally, I was just so floored by what Fincher did on The Killer. Nothing bold or artistically challenging at all, but done with a discipline and precision that’s to die for.
Special Jury Prize
Will win: IO CAPITANO
Should win: GREEN BORDER
Io Capitano tells a human story that couldn’t be timelier. It’s splendidly realized and packs a resounding political message. It’s a very easy film to love and I won’t be mad if it wins any of the top prizes. I also think for the 80th anniversary, it would be of symbolic significance to recognize at least one Italian production in the major categories.
Grand Jury Prize
Will win: GREEN BORDER
Should win: POOR THINGS
It doesn’t feel right for two films about migration to win top prizes, but it just so happens that both Io Capitano and Green Border are easy and deserved picks, also I simply don’t see which other film could break into the Big 3 over these two. Origin, Evil Does Not Exist and The Promised Land seem to me to be the next tier of contenders.
Will win: POOR THINGS
Should win: OUT OF SEASON
In my mind, Yorgos Lanthimos’ fantastical feminist odyssey is too marvelous and unique to be ignored. The only things I could think of that might count against it: 1) it’s a comedy and may appear less „serious“ or „urgent“ than its politically-minded competitors; 2) it’s not Italian and wouldn’t make for the most perfect crown jewel of an anniversary edition of the festival (reminder that Gianfranco Rossi’s Sacro GRA won the Lion 10 years ago despite not having received much critical love at all). But if the jury is game, I’d say these hurdles can easily be cleared and Poor Things can absolutely win. Well, we’ll see soon enough.
The winners of the 80th Venice Film Festival will be announced tomorrow Sep. 9th.