'Philomena' dominates preliminary Venice awards, as 'Tom at the Farm' takes critics' prize

Posted by · 7:11 am · September 7th, 2013

When I said in yesterday’s predictions piece that “Philomena” was the most broadly well-liked film of the festival, I wasn’t kidding. Stephen Frears’ gentle dramedy, widely tipped to win Best Actress for Judi Dench at tonight’s Competition awards ceremony, handily leads the way in the festival’s vast array of preliminary awards from alternative juries. Its eight wins include Best Film from the festival’s Youth Jury, an INTERFILM award for “promoting interreligious dialogue,” even a Cinema for UNICEF mention. No one’s singled it out yet for walking on water, but it’s only a matter of time.

Most surprisingly of all, the film won the Queer Lion in recognition of its sympathetic portrayal of gay issues. Fair enough, though it must surely be the least queer film ever to have won the award. I can only imagine that Xavier Dolan — whose stylish, haunting thriller about rural homophobia, “Tom at the Farm,” is a Competition highlight — is feeling slightly shortchanged.

Or perhaps not, since Dolan did win the most significant preliminary award of all, the FIPRESCI Critics’ prize for best film in Competition — beating the bookies’ Golden Lion favorites “Stray Dogs,” “The Wind Rises” and “Night Moves.” Have we underestimated his chances in tonight’s ceremony? More often than not, the FIPRESCI winner goes on to win at least one major jury award — recent winners at Venice include “The Master” and “Shame” — though you have to go back to 2000 and Jafar Panahi’s “The Circle” to find the last time the Golden Lion and the critics’ award went to the same film. (Incidentally, you can read my full thought on Dolan’s review in my Variety review.)

Meanwhile, does this bode well for “Philomena” taking something bigger than Best Actress? My instinct says that this jury — which includes such distinctive auteurs as Bernardo Bertolucci and Andrea Arnold — will go for something harder-edged, but the British film could be a compromise choice if they’re split on more avant-garde options. We’ll know in a few hours.

In the meantime, here’s the long, long, long list of preliminary awards, which also includes the winners of the Critics’ Week and Venice Days sidebars. (The winner of the latter, strong political thriller “Bethlehem,” is in the frame to be Israel’s Oscar submission.) Further down, there’s something for almost everyone, including “Gravity,” “Joe” and even (gulp) “The Zero Theorem.”

Check out the full list on the next page.

Best Film in Competition: “Tom at the Farm,” Xavier Dolan
Best Film in Orizzonti and International Critics” Week: “The Reunion,” Anna Odell

Fedeora Awards – Venice Days 
Best Film: “Bethlehem,” Yuval Adler 
Best Debut Director: Milko Lazarov, “Alienation” 
Special Mention: “La belle vie,” Jean Denizot

Venice International Film Critics Week 
Best Film: “Class Enemy,” Rok Bicek 
Best Cinematography: Inti Briones, “Las Niñas Quispe,”
Special Mention: Giuseppe Battiston, actor, “Zoran, il mio nipote scemo”
Special Mention: Anna Odell, writer-director, “The Reunion”  

SIGNIS Award: “Philomena,” Stephen Frears
Special Mention: “Ana Arabia,” Amos Gitai

Leoncino d’Oro Agiscuola per il Cinema Award: “Sacro GRA,” Gianfranco Rosi
Cinema for UNICEF mention: “Philomena,” Stephen Frears

Francesco Pasinetti Awards
Best Film: “Still Life,” Uberto Pasolini
Best Actors: Elena Cotta and Alba Rohrwacher, “A Street in Palermo”; Antonio Albanese, “L’inrepido” Special Mention: Maria Rosaria Omaggio, “Walesa: Man of Hope”
Special Mention: “Il terzo tempo,” Enrico Maria Artale

Brian Award: “Philomena,” Stephen Frears

Queer Lion Award: “Philomena,” Stephen Frears

Europa Cinemas Label Award Best European Movie from Venice Days: “La belle vie,” Jean Denizot
Special Mention: “Alienation,” Milko Lazarov

Arca CinemaGiovani Award
Best Film in Competition: “Miss Violence,” Alexandros Avranas
Best Italian Film: “L’Arte della Felicità,” Alessandro Rak

CICT – UNESCO “Enrico Fulchignoni” Award: “At Berkeley,” Frederick Wiseman

Christopher D. Smithers Foundation Award: “Joe,” David Gordon Green

CICAE – Cinema d”Arte e d”Essai Award: “Still Life,” Uberto Pasolini

FEDIC Award: “Zoran, il mio nipote scemo,” Matteo Oleotto
Special Mention: “L”arte della felicità,” Alessandro Rak

Fondazione Mimmo Rotella Award: “L”intrepido,” Gianni Amelio

Future Film Festival Digital Award: “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuarón
Special Mention: “The Zero Theorem,” Terry Gilliam

P. Nazareno Taddei Award: “Philomena,” Stephen Frears

Lanterna Magica (CGS) Award: “L”intrepido,” Gianni Amelio

Open Award: Serena Nono, “Venezia salva”  

Lina Mangiacapre Award: “A Street in Palermo,” Emma Dante
Special Mention: “Traitors,” Sean Gullette; “Ukraine is Not a Brothel,” Kitty Green

Mouse d’Oro Awards 
Best Film in Competition: “Philomena,” Stephen Frears
Best Out of Competition Film: “At Berkeley,” Frederick Wiseman
Special Mention: “Stray Dogs,” Tsai Ming-liang; “Heimat: Chronicle of a Vision,” Edgar Reitz.

UK-ITALY Creative Industries Award – Best Innovative Budget
“Il terzo tempo,” Enrico Maria Artale; “Medeas,” Andrea Pallaoro; “Kush,” Shubhashish Bhutiani Gillo

Pontecorvo Award – Arcobaleno Latino
Best Romance Language Film: “Con il fiato sospeso,” Costanza Quatriglio
Gillo Pontecorvo Award – Arte e Industria: Walter Veltroni

Young Jury Members of the Vittorio Veneto Film Festival Award: “Philomena,” Stephen Frears
Special Mention for a Debut Film: “A Street in Palermo,” Emma Dante

“Civitas Vitae prossima” Award: “Still Life,” Uberto Pasolini

Green Drop Award: “Ana Arabia,” Amos Gitai

Soundtrack Stars Award Best Soundtrack: “A Street in Palermo,” Emma Dante

Schermi di Qualità Award: “Zoran, il mio nipote scemo,” Matteo Oleotto Ambiente

WWF Award: “Amazonia,” Thierry Ragobert

RaroVideo – International Critics” Week Award: “Zoran, il mio nipote scemo,” Matteo Oleotto

Venezia 70 Award for Best Euro-Mediterranean Film: “Miss Violence,” Alexandros Avranas

Bianchi Award: Enzo d”Aló

INTERFILM Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue: “Philomena,” Stephen Frears

Comments Off on 'Philomena' dominates preliminary Venice awards, as 'Tom at the Farm' takes critics' prize Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: HitFix · In Contention