What happens on the Lido doesn’t stay on the Lido, which is why studios with an eye on Oscar’s best picture race love the Venice Film Festival.
Audience reactions at Venice get global media coverage positioning films for Academy members’ early interest. Last week saw a standing ovation for 13 or 15 minutes, depending on whose stopwatch you trust, for Searchlight’s in competition THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, which now seems on its way to a best picture nom.
Writer/director Martin McDonagh is no stranger to Venice. He was there in 2017 with THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, winning for the screenplay. This weekend he again won the best screenplay for BANSHEES.
Stars Colin Farrell & Brendan Gleeson were there for the BANSHEES applause, said to be the festival’s longest. The crowd was so carried away it delayed the next screening — for WB/NL’s out of competition DON’T WORRY DARLING, which has also been making headlines, but the wrong kind.
It seems to be a case of she said/she said pitting director/star Olivia Wilde & her co-star Florence Pugh against one another after personal conflicts during production opposite Harry Styles. DARLING’s standing ovation ran 7 minutes, but news reports noted there was no eye contact between Pugh & Wilde as the audience went wild.
Controversy can help films at the boxoffice, but it usually doesn’t help them win awards. Critics can help, but they’re 43% on RT. London’s Daily Mail Online says of the early European reviews that “the majority of them have been negative,” but adds Pugh (pictured) is being “praised for her ‘superb’ performance.”