Venice Film Festival: 'Pieta' Claims Golden Lion, 'The Master' Wins Big Amid Controversy

Venice Film Festival: 'Pieta' Claims Golden Lion, 'The Master' Wins Big Amid Controversy

Rumor has it, 'The Master' was initially set to receive the top prize before the jury decided to give it to 'Pieta' due to some 'quirk' in the festival's new rules.
Winners of the 2012 Venice Film Festival have been officially announced. Claiming the top Golden Lion prize was South Korean ultra-violent film "Pieta", which is directed by Kim Ki-duk. The filmmaker was on hand to accept the prestigious prize at the Saturday, September 8 event, where he sang a traditional Korean song "Arirang" upon receiving the award.

Later on, Ki-duk told reporters, "This is a song that we Koreans sing when we are sad, when we feel alone, when we feel desperate, but also when we're happy." Ki-duk's award-winning film follows a violent debt collector who tortures people who can't pay to him. One day, he's visited by a strange, middle-aged woman who claimed she was his long-lost mother.

While "Pieta" snatched the coveted Golden Lion, Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" became the biggest winner at the festival by taking home two trophies in total. The Scientology-inspired drama claimed the Silver Lion Award and brought its two leading stars (Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman) in winning the Best Actor gong.

"The Master" recently sparked controversy at the world-class festival. The Hollywood Reporter shared the words that the film supposedly won the Golden Lion prize, but due to some "quirk in the rules," it took home the Silver Lion instead.

Words were, during the jury's first deliberations, members initially decided to give the top prize to "The Master", the Silver Lion directing award to Anderson, as well as the acting award to Phoenix and Hoffman. However, the new rules prohibited a film from winning more than two major awards.

Thus, the jury was asked to re-deliberate to remove one of the awards. A source said that there has been a "heated session" upon deciding the winners, but eventually the jury chose to take the Golden Lion away from "The Master" and gave it to "Pieta" instead.

"The Master" was the only U.S. winner in the Italian film festival. Other American movies competing at the event were Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" and Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers".

Venice Film Festival 2012 Winners:
  • The Golden Lion Award: "Pieta" (South Korea)
  • The Silver Lion Award: "The Master" (U.S.)
  • Special Jury Prize: "Ulrich Seidl for Paradies: Glaube" (Austria)
  • Best First Feature: "Kuf" (Mold) (Turkey)
  • Best Actress: Hadas Yaron for "Fill the Void" (Israel)
  • Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman for "The Master" (U.S.)
  • Best Screenplay: "Apres Mai" (France)
  • Best Cinematography: "E Stato Il Figlio" (It Was the Son) (Italy)

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