Brad Pitt's Ad Astra, Joaquin Phoenix's Joker join 2019 Venice Film Festival lineup
The oldest film festival in the world is once again primed to launch budding Oscar contenders into the awards race.
The 2019 Venice Film Festival announced its full slate of official selections on Thursday morning, setting the pre-Oscar stage with new entries from respected directors such as James Gray (the long-gestating Brad Pitt sci-fi drama Ad Astra), Noah Baumbach (Scarlett Johansson's marital drama Marriage Story), Todd Phillips (the Joaquin Phoenix-led comic book adaptation Joker), Jackie helmer Pablo Larrain (Ema), and Steven Soderbergh (Panama Papers comedy The Laundromat, starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas) — all of which will compete for the Golden Lion, the festival's top jury-awarded prize.
Also heading to Venice's 76th edition as part of its competitive slate are Olivier Assayas' new film Wasp Network, and a new title from controversial filmmaker Roman Polanski — who fled the United States in 1978 after pleading guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl — titled J'accuse, about a French army captain imprisoned after he's wrongfully accused of treason.
Only two female filmmakers have films in the 21-film Venice competition: Shannon Murphy (Babyteeth) and Haifaa Al-Mansour (The Perfect Candidate).
Outside Venice's main competition, Timothée Chalamet will play England's King Henry V at the festival in David Michôd's historical drama The King ahead of its fall bow on Netflix, while Kristen Stewart's turn as iconic actress Jean Seberg in Benedict Andrews' Seberg will also make a fall festival stop at Venice. Paulo Sorrentino's Jude Law-led television series sequel to The Young Pope, titled The New Pope, is further set for a premiere at the event.
Recently, Venice has proven to be a reliable foreteller of general Academy tastes, hosting screenings of Oscar-bound films like The Hurt Locker, Birdman, The Danish Girl, Jackie, La La Land, Arrival, The Shape of Water, The Favourite, First Man, A Star Is Born, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs among its internationally diverse slate.
Last year, the Golden Lion was awarded to Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, which went on to win three Oscars on top of 10 total nominations — including one for Best Picture. The year before, Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water also bagged the Golden Lion en route to a Best Picture victory.
Among the acting set, two of Venice's Best Actress champions have gone on to win the Academy Award since 2016: Emma Stone for La La Land and Olivia Colman for The Favourite.
Elsewhere on the fall festival circuit, the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival announced its first round of Gala and Special Presentations Wednesday, including the aforementioned Marriage Story, Marielle Heller's Mister Rogers-themed drama A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Cynthia Erivo's Harriet Tubman biopic, and the Jennifer Lopez/Constance Wu stripper revenge story Hustlers, directed by Lorene Scafaria.
The 2019 Venice Film Festival runs Aug. 28-Sept. 7. Ticketing information is available here. Read on for a full list of films playing as part of this year's Venice slate (via THR).
The Truth, Hirokazu Kore-eda
The Perfect Candidate, Haifaa Al-Mansour
About Endlessness, Roy Andersson
Wasp Network, Olivier Assayas
Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
Guest of Honour, Atom Egoyan
Ad Astra, James Gray
A Herdade, Tiago Guedes
Gloria Mundi, Robert Guediguian
Waiting for the Barbarians, Ciro Guerra
Ema, Pablo Larrain
Saturday Fiction, Lou Ye
Martin Eden, Pietro Marcello
La Mafia Non E Piu Quella Di Una Volta, Franco Maresco
The Painted Bird, Vaclav Marhoul
Il Sindaco del Rione Sanita, Mario Martone
Babyteeth, Shannon Murphy
Joker, Todd Phillips
J'accuse, Roman Polanski
The Laundromat, Steven Soderbergh
No. 7 Cherry Lane, Yonfan
OUT OF COMPETITION
The Burnt Orange Heresy, Giuseppe Capotondi
Goodbye, Dragon Inn, Tsai Ming-Liang
No One Left Behind, Guillermo Arriaga
Electric Swan, Konstantina Kotzamani
Irreversible- Inversion Integrale, Gaspar Noe
ZeroZeroZero, Stefano Sollima
The New Pope, Paolo Sorrentino
Never Just a Dream: Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut, Matt Wells
Seberg, Benedict Andrews
Vivere, Francesca Archibugi
Mosul, Matthew Michael Carnahan
Adults in the Room, Costa-Gavras
The King, David Michod
Tutto Il Mio Folle Amore, Gabriele Salvatores
OUT OF COMPETITION DOCUMENTARY
Woman, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Anastasia Mikova
Roger Waters Us + Them, Sean Evans, Roger Waters
Citizen K, Alex Gibney
I Diari di Angela – Noi Due Cineaste. Capitolo Secondo, Tervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi
Citizen Rosi, Didi Gnocchi, Carolina Rosi
The Kingmaker, Lauren Greenfield
State Funeral, Sergei Loznitsa
Collective, Alexander Nanau
45 Seconds of Laughter, Tim Robbins
Il Pianeta In Mare, Andrea Segre
Chiara Ferragni – Unposted, Elisa Amoruso
Il Varco, Federico Ferrone, Michele Manzolini
The Scarecrows, Nouri Bouzid
Effetto Domino, Alessandro Rossetto
Pelican Blood, Katrin Gebbe (Opening Film)
Blanco en Blanco, Theo Court
Mes Jours de Gloire, Antoine de Bary
Nevia, Nunzia de Stefano
Moffie, Oliver Hermanus
Hava, Maryam, Ayesha, Sahraa Karimi
Rialto, Peter Mackie Burns
The Criminal Man, Dmitry Mamuliya
Giants Being Lonely, Grear Patterson
Revenir, Jessica Palud
Verdict, Raymund Ribay Gutierrez
Just 6.5, Saeed Roustaee
Zumiriki, Oskar Alegria
A Son, Mehdi M. Barsaoui
Shadow of Water, Sasidharan Sanal Kumar
Sole, Carlo Sironi
Madre, Rodrigo Sorogoyen
Ballon, Pema Tseden
Atlantis, Valentyn Vasyanovych