The only church I believe in is the church of cinema and Ang Lee is a holy man. Don't tell me otherwise, blasphemer!
If you have to receive a blessing from an auteur, a vote of confidence if you will, what better man than Ang Lee? He has exceptional taste. Colin Firth might be floating up towards heaven even as we speak since Ang Lee and his Venice International Film Festival jury named Colin Firth Best Actor. The honor came for his work as a grieving gay academic in Tom Ford's A Single Man (see: related posts).
I'd like to intone "The Oscar race has begun" in sotto voce right about now, but has it? A Single Man's distribution is still up in the air. Though the movie, based on the Christopher Isherwood novel, is having a great week (positive reception at both Venice and Toronto) only time will tell if the film will be eligible for any more trophies in 2009. For now, it has two.
The Golden Lion winner, Lebanon, which takes place in a tank
Ang's other holy blessings
Golden Lion (Best Film): Lebanon, directed by Samuel Maoz and Maoz Shmulik [Israel]
Silver Lion (Best Director): Women Without Men directed by Shirin Neshat [Iran]
Grand Jury Prize: Soul Kitchen directed by fest trophy magnet Fatih Akin of Head On and The Edge of Heaven fame [Germany]
Actress: Russian thespian Kseniya Rappoport (pictured right) in The Double Hour [Italy]
Young Performer: Jasmine Trinca in The Big Dream [Italy]
Screenplay: Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime [USA]
Set Design: Sylvie Olive for Mr. Nobody [USA]
The sidebar juries handed out the following prizes
Lion of the Future (Debut Film): Engkwentro by Pepe Diokno [The Philippines]
Queer Lion: A Single Man directed by Tom Ford [USA]
Documentary: 1428 directed by Du Haibin [China]
Special Mention: The Man’s Woman and Other Stories directed by Amit Dutta [India]
Controcompo Italiano: Cosmonauta by Susanna Nicchiarelli [Italy]
The only bum deal about the glorious Toronto International Film Festival that's in full swing as Venice shutters, is that they don't do juried awards. So this is your last big film award for awhile. Trophies, cups, scrolls, and golden statues are the way to go, you know. Oh sure, art is silly to quantify in that way but there's something generous and worthwhile about saying "you... you deserve this you beautiful piece of celluloid, you!" Ciao bella!
But back to "Darcy" himself for a second. I like Firth's chances in the Oscar race should the film find a distributor. Not only is that category awfully barren this year, but Firth is a respected enduring star who has never been nominated. When known previously neglected commodities do "best of career" work, big things can happen on Oscar night. Plus, he's a straight man playing gay as he reminded the world in his acceptance speech with a nod to his Italian wife.
I rarely seem to come home from Italy empty-handed – wine, balsamic vinegar, wife, two children, and now a nice piece of silverware.Everyone knows how hard the Academy thinks that acting gay is for straight men. Imagine the unspeakable horror of locking lips with Matthew Goode! Poor, poor put upon Colin. He thought pretending to be in love with Bridget Jones was hard work.