The Golden Lion (Italian: Leone d'oro) is the highest prize given to a film at the Venice Film Festival. The prize was introduced in 1949 by the organizing committee and is now regarded as one of the film industry's most prestigious and distinguished prizes. In 1970, a second Golden Lion was introduced; this is an honorary award for people who have made an important contribution to cinema.
|Leone d'oro (Italian)|
|Presented by||Venice Film Festival|
|Currently held by||Happening (2021)|
The prize was introduced in 1949 as the Golden Lion of Saint Mark (the winged lion which had appeared on the flag of the Republic of Venice). In 1954, the prize was permanently named Golden Lion. Previously, the equivalent prize was the Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia (Grand International Prize of Venice), awarded in 1947 and 1948. Before that, from 1934 until 1942, the highest awards were the Coppa Mussolini (Mussolini Cup) for Best Italian Film and Best Foreign Film.
The prize was first awarded in 1949. Previously, the equivalent prize was the Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia (Grand International Prize of Venice), awarded in 1947 and 1948. No Golden Lions were awarded between 1969 and 1979. According to the Biennale's official website, this hiatus was a result of the 1968 Lion being awarded to the radically experimental Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos; the website says that the awards "still had a statute dating back to the fascist era and could not side-step the general political climate. Sixty-eight produced a dramatic fracture with the past". Fourteen French films have been awarded the Golden Lion, more than that of any other nation. However, there is considerable geographical diversity in the winners. Seven American filmmakers have won the Golden Lion, with awards for John Cassavetes and Robert Altman (both times the awards were shared with other winners who tied), as well as Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain was the first winning US film not to tie), Darren Aronofsky, Sofia Coppola, Todd Phillips, and Chloé Zhao.
Although prior to 1980, only three of 21 winners were of non-European origin, since the 1980s, the Golden Lion has been presented to a number of Asian filmmakers, particularly in comparison to the Cannes Film Festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, which has only been awarded to five Asian filmmakers since 1980. The Golden Lion, by contrast, has been awarded to ten Asians during the same time period, with two of these filmmakers winning it twice. Ang Lee won the Golden Lion twice within three years during the 2000s, once for an American film and once for a Chinese-language film. Zhang Yimou has also won twice. Other Asians to win the Golden Lion since 1980 include Jia Zhangke, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang, Trần Anh Hùng, Takeshi Kitano, Kim Ki-duk, Jafar Panahi, Mira Nair, and Lav Diaz. Russian filmmakers have also won the Golden Lion several times, including since the end of the USSR.
Still, to date 33 of the 54 winners were European men (including Soviet/Russian winners). Since 1949, only six women have ever won the Golden Lion for directing: Margarethe von Trotta, Agnès Varda, Mira Nair, Sofia Coppola, Chloé Zhao, and Audrey Diwan.
The following films received the Golden Lions or the major awards of the Venice Film Festival:
- # Denotes Ex-aequo win
- § Denotes unanimous win
Four directors have won the award twice:
Golden Lion Honorary AwardEdit
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The report began with a few sentences of praise for each of the 14 films [sic], and then selected the Japanese Harp of Burma and the Spanish Calle Mayor as being particularly outstanding. Since the jury was unable to decide which of these two films was the superior, it had decided not to award a grand prix "St. Mark Golden Lion" this year.
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- "Venice Film Fete in Quest of Glamour". The New York Times. August 28, 1979. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
Carlo Lizzani, leftist director and the festival's new president, has not so far managed to restore the “Golden Lion” awards presented at Venice until 1968
- "The awards of the Venice Film Festival". La Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 2017-01-01.
- Vivarelli, Nick (2020-07-20). "Venice Film Festival to Honor Tilda Swinton, Ann Hui With Golden Lions for Career Achievement". Variety. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
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