The 2019 Venice International Film Festival has officially ended, and this year’s top award winners were surprisingly Todd Phillips’ Joker and Roman Polanski.

The festival’s big prize, The Golden Lion, was awarded to the upcoming Batman villain prequel film starring Joaquin Phoenix, leading many to wonder what that means for the upcoming awards season as historically films that win The Golden Lion go on to sweep American awards like the Oscars and Golden Globes. Most recently, last year’s winner was Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma which won three Oscars, and the year before that Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water won The Golden Lion and then Best Picture at the Oscars. Joker debuted to rave reviews at Venice earlier.

Credit: Arthur Fleck; Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

But perhaps the biggest surprise is that the Grand Jury Prize was awarded to Polanski for An Officer and a Spy. Polanski was not in attendance to accept the award, as expected.

Polanski fled the United States back in 1978 after pleading guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl (a grand jury indicted him in 1977 on six felony charges, including rape, furnishing a controlled substance to a minor, and sodomy). The director spent more than a month in prison before fleeing the country, and he has remained a fugitive ever since. He continues to be a controversial figure as last year, he dismissed the #MeToo movement as “mass hysteria” and “complete hypocrisy.” He was also expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Check out the full list of winners from the Venice International Film Festival below:


Golden Lion: Joker

Grand Jury Prize: An Officer and a Spy, Roman Polanski

Silver Lion for Best Director: Roy Andersson, About Endlessness

Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Ariane Ascaride, Gloria Mundi

Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Luca Marinelli, Martin Eden

Best Screenplay: No. 7 Cherry Lane

Special Jury Prize: The Mafia Is No Longer What It Used to Be

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Young Actor: Toby Wallace, Babyteeth

Horizons Competition (Orizzonti)

Best Film: Atlantis

Best Director: Théo Court, White on White

Special Jury Prize: Verdict

Best Actress: Marta Nieto, Madre

Best Actor: Sami Bouajila, A Son

Best Screenplay: Back Home

Best Short Film: Darling

Lion of the Future

Luigi de Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Feature: You Will Die at Twenty, Amjad Abu Alala

Venice Classics

Best Restored Film: Ecstasy, Gustav Machatý

Best Documentary on Cinema: Babenco – Alguém Tem Que Ouvir O Coração E Dizer: Parou

Virtual Reality Competition

Best Virtual Reality: Céline Tricart, The Key

Best Virtual Reality Experience: A Linha, Ricardo Laganaro

Best Virtual Reality Story: Daughters of Chibok, Joel Kachi Benson

Related content:

Joker (2019 movie)
Joaquin Phoenix's captivating, unsettling Joker is no laughing matter
  • Movie