Updated: Oct 17, 2022
By Asca Akiyama and Anna Harrison
Awards season has kicked into gear with recent film festivals like TIFF, Telluride, and most recently, the Venice Film Festival, and buzz about certain Oscar hopefuls has grown louder and louder.
Venice especially showcased strong films, not to mention meme-able moments. The Golden Lion for Best Film went to “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” a documentary from Laura Poitras about photographer and activist Nan Goldin, signaling that it might follow in the footsteps of last year’s “Flee” and score a rare double nomination at the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Documentary.
However, the Best Picture race is shaping up to be much stronger than last year’s, especially with the premieres of “Tár” and “The Banshees of Inisherin” at Venice. “Tár,” starring Cate Blanchett as the titular Lydia Tár, a renowned composer, marks director Todd Field’s first film since 2006, and has been earning rapturous reviews, especially for Cate Blanchett, who may be poised to seize her third Oscar statuette.
“The Banshees of Inisherin” reunites director and writer Martin McDonagh with stars Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell—they had previously collaborated in 2008’s “In Bruges,” which was Oscar-nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Farrell and Gleeson have become favorites if not to win, then to at least get Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations, respectively. Both men are respected thespians with nary an Oscar nomination to their name, something that could soon change.
And don’t count out Luca Gaudagnino’s “Bones and All,” where he once again partners with Timothée Chalamet (who caused quite a stir on the red carpet with his red silk jumpsuit). This is their follow up collaboration after “Call Me by Your Name,” though it was co-star Taylor Russell who won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor at Venice.
Brendan Fraser also gave a standout performance in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale.” Fraser had largely disappeared from the public eye after enduring multiple surgeries from stunt injuries and being sexually assaulted by Philip Berk, the former head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. He has returned with a tour de force performance, and it was heartwarming to see him so touched by the long standing ovation he received.
Venice tends to award more diverse films than the Academy—international films like “Saint Omer” and “No Bears” won the Grand Jury Prize and Special Jury Prize, respectively. However, it seems unlikely to receive any Oscar love outside of a possible Best International Feature nomination.
Venice provides these non-blockbuster, non-MCU films a platform that seems harder and harder to come by these days as theatrical exhibitions have been taken over by franchises, reboots, and spinoffs. Films like “Tár,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and “Bones and All” are meant to be seen on the big screen, but since they don’t fit into the mold of today’s most popular films, they must rely heavily on word of mouth and buzz coming out of festivals like Venice. These festivals don’t exist merely for the red-carpet photos (though those are fun) or for celebrities to congratulate themselves—they are essential to the health of the film industry.