Creating a buzz at the 65th Annual Venice International Film Festival which ran from August 27 to September 6, "The Wrestler" came out as champion by the end of the special event. On Saturday, September 6, the movie about the has-been professional wrestler has been awarded with the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion, by the Venezia 65 Jury chaired by German filmmaker Wim Wenders.
Taking the stage to receive the coveted prize alongside director Darren Aronofsky, the movie's star Mickey Rourke who dedicated the award to all the wrestlers they have met "who are making 200 dollars a night and are willing to sacrifice their bodies and their souls for it" said, "I'd like to really thank the jury for making the right decision." Meanwhile, Aronofsky threw his appreciation to the actor saying, "We need to thank Mickey Rourke for opening up his heart and soul for the camera...and reminding the world what a great talent he is."
Though Rouke has been claimed to be delivering a "heartbreaking" performance in the film and was considered for the best actor prize, the festival rules specifically prohibited the actor to walk away with the prize since "Wrestler" has won the Golden Lion. The Coppa Volpi for best actor, thus, was given to Silvio Orlando for his role in Pupi Avati's "Il Papa di Giovanna".
Other winners include director Aleksey German Jr. of "Bumaznyj Soldat (Paper Soldier)" for the Silver Lion, Dominique Blanc of "L'autre" for Best Actress and Jennifer Lawrence of "The Burning Plain" for Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress. The rest of the Venezia 65 Awards' recipients can be read below.
Official Winners of Venezia 65 Awards at the 65th Venice Film Festival: