Annette Bening named Venice Film Festival’s jury president - only the fourth woman to receive the accolade

It was time to break with a long list of male presidents, says festival’s director, who praises the American Beauty actress for intellect, talents and understated acting

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 3:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 3:00pm

Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening has been named the president of the jury for the 74th Venice Film Festival.

The American Beauty actress, whose other credits include The Kids Are All Right, 20th Century Women and Bugsy, is among the few women to serve as chair for the Italian festival – and the first in more than a decade.

“It was time to break with a long list of male presidents and invite a brilliant, talented and inspiring woman to chair our international competition jury,” said festival director Alberto Barbera, who recommended Bening for the post to the board of directors.

Best of Venice 2016: La La Land, Arrival, Jackie, and that four-hour black-and-white Golden Lion winner

Catherine Deneuve, Jane Campion and Gong Li were the other female presidents, serving in 2006, 2002 and 1997, respectively. Sam Mendes, who directed Bening in American Beauty , was last year’s chair.

Barbera praised Bening’s character and said she would carry out the role “by virtue of her stature, her intellect and the talents she has manifested over the course of her career, in Hollywood, Europe and on the stage.”

“Hers is a career marked by always interesting, often daring choices. A sophisticated and instinctive actress, able to portray complex shadings of character, Annette Bening brings to her roles an understating, a warmth and a natural elegance that makes watching her films a wonderful and ever enriching experience. I welcome her to Venice,” Barbera said.

Bening and eight other international celebrity jurors will hand out the awards at the festival, including the Golden Lion for best film and Silver Lion for best director and the grand jury prize.

“I’m honoured to be asked to serve as the president of the jury for this year’s Venice Film Festival,” Bening said. “I look forward to seeing the movies and working with my fellow jury members to celebrate the best of this year’s cinema from all over the world.”

The festival runs from August 30 to September 9, and the official line-up of films will be announced in Rome on July 27.