Venice Film Festival: movies in the running to win the Golden Lion

The Italian film festival's top award is a key pointer towards Oscar glory

Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour's 'The Perfect Candidate' is in the running to win the Golden Lion award. Courtesy La Biennale Di Venezia
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The 2019 Venice Film Festival draws to a close on Saturday, September 7. And historically, the festival has become the main launch pad for the Oscar race, with the Golden Lion prize being a telling indicator of a movie's chances at the Academy Awards.

In 2019, there are 21 competing for the prestigious Golden Lion: 

  • The Perfect Candidate by Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour
  • The Truth by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • About Endlessness by Swedish director Roy Andersson
  • Wasp Network by French director Olivier Assayas
  • Marriage Story by American director Noah Baumbach
  • Guest of Honour by Canadian director Atom Egoyan
  • Ad Astra by American director James Gray
  • A Herdade by Portuguese director Tiago Guedes
  • Gloria Mundi by French director Robert Guediguian
  • Waiting For The Barbarians by Colombian director Ciro Guerra
  • Ema by Chilean director Pablo Larrain
  • Lan xin da ju yuan (Saturday Fiction) by Chinese director Lou Ye
  • Martin Eden by Italian director Pietro Marcello
  • La Mafia Non e Piu Quella Di Una Volta (The Mafia Is No Longer What It Used To Be) by Italian director Franco Maresco
  • The Painted Bird by Czech director Vaclav Marhoul
  • Il Sindaco Del Rione Sanita (The Mayor of Rione Sanita) by Italian director Mario Martone
  • Babyteeth by Australian director Shannon Murphy
  • Joker by American director Todd Phillips
  • An Officer and a Spy by French-Polish director Roman Polanski
  • The Laundromat by American director Steven Soderbergh
  • No.7 Cherry Lane by Hong Kong director Yonfan
Brad Pitt stars in James Gray's 'Ad Astra'.
Brad Pitt stars in James Gray's 'Ad Astra'.

Recent significance of the Golden Lion 

Historically, the winners of the Golden Lion have had success at the Academy Awards and recent history is no exception. But Oscar success isn't limited to the films that take home the top award, movies that premiere at the fesival have a track record of success.

In 2018, Alfonso Cuaron's black-and-white Roma picked up three Oscars including best picture and seven other nominations after winning Venice. While The Favourite, which was premiered the same day as the Mexican masterpiece, also got 10 nominations with Britain's Olivia Coleman taking the best actress Oscar.

Another Venice film, the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's A Star is Born garnered seven nominations.

Lifting the Golden Lion in Venice also heralded joy in Hollywood for Guillermo del Toro, whose 2017 The Shape of Water was garlanded with a best picture Oscar and three other wins from its 13 nominations.

It's main rival at Venice, Anglo-Irish director Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri went on to earn two Oscars for actors Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell as well as five other nominations.