Todd Phillips's film "Joker" won the Golden Lion Award at the 76 Venice International Film Festival on Saturday and cemented his place as a legitimate candidate for the rest of the awards season.
Jury President Lucretia Martel announced the winners of the prestigious award during a ceremony at Lido. The Golden Lion previously featured films that became major players of the awards season, such as "Rome" and the winner of the Academy's best film 2018 movie, "The Shape of Water."
“I want to thank Warner Bros. and DC for getting out of their comfort zone and having such a bold impact on me and this movie, ”said Phillips with star Joaquin Phoenix by his side on stage.
Phoenix did not win the best actor award - it went to Italian actor Luca Marinelli for Jack London's adaptation of "Martin Eden" - but the director of "Joker" devoted much of his speech to the talents of his protagonist.
In the movie, he transforms from comedian Arthur Fleck into a classic Batman enemy.
"Thank you for trusting me with your insane talents," Phillips told Phoenix.
Roman Polanski's Dreyfus film, “An Officer and a Spy,” won the grand jury award, which recognizes other strong candidates for the Golden Lion.
Polanski, who fled the United States after pleading guilty to illegal sex with a 13 girl and has been a fugitive for over 40 years, was not at the ceremony to accept the award.
Source: The Associated Press