Poor Things


‘Poor Things’

Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things has won the Golden Lion for best film at the 2023 Venice Film Festival.

Lanthimos accepted the award for the science fiction black comedy, which received rave reviews following its debut last week on the Lido.

Scroll down for the full list of winners

”Thank you very much, thank you jury, thank you the festival,” said Lanthimos, who went on to address the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, the former of which prevented his cast including Emma Stone from joining him in Venice. ”I put my voice into hope that it will be resolved soon,” said the Greek filmmaker. 

He also thanked his ”team of wonderful women and one man that helps me get through everything,” and gave a special mention to Stone, who plays the lead role of Bella Baxter. ”This incredible creature wouldn’t exist without Emma Stone, another incredible creature. This film is her, in front and behind the camera,” said Lanthimos.

The Venice award will be a major boost to Poor Things’ awards season prospects. Adapted by Tony McNamara from Alasdair Gray’s novel of the same name, the film is produced by Andrew Lowe and Ed Guiney for Ireland’s Element Pictures, with Lanthimos and Stone. Searchlight Pictures has set a December 8 US release date, with a UK-Ireland release on January 12.

The Silver Lion Grand Jury prize went to Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Evil Does Not Exist, adding to his recent run of awards recognition after four Oscar nominations and one win for his last film Drive My Car

Agnieszka Holland’s Green Border, which dramatises the plight of migrants in the Belarus-EU border crisis, won the Special Jury Prize; while Matteo Garrone was the big Italian winner on the night, taking best director for Io Capitano, with Seydou Sarr also winning the Marcello Mastroianni award for promising young performer for his role in the film. Garrone dedicated his award to the people of Morocco, where part of the film shot, on the day when over 1,000 people were killed by an earthquake in the country.

Peter Sarsgaard won the Volpi Cup for best actor for Michel Franco’s Memory, and gave a lengthy, emotional speech in which he called out to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to reconsider their actions in the ongoing strikes.

”All of the issues regarding [the strikes] are important; but AI has really struck a chord with me,” said Sarsgaard. ”It really does seem the stuff of science fiction.

”We can all agree that an actor is a person. But it seems that we can’t; and that’s terrifying, because this work that we do is about connection. This experience will be handed over to the machines and the eight billionaires that own them.

”If we lose this battle, our industry will be the first of many to fall,” said Sarsgaard, who said future industries that could be affected include the medical and warfare industries. ”Disconnection paves the way for atrocities. They say love your enemy – I appeal to the humanity of the members of the AMPTP to make the future for their own children hum with the hive of humanity.”

The ceremony was hosted by Italian actress Caterina Murino, who also hosted the opening ceremony on August 30. 

Yesterday, winners were announced for the Critics’ Week sidebar – with UK title Hoard taking three prizes; and Giornate degli Autori, with the main prize going to Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person

Lifetime achievement awards have already been presented to Italian director Liliana Cavani, at the opening ceremony; and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai.

Last year’s Golden Lion for best film went to Laura Poitras’ documentary All The Beauty And The Bloodshed – only the second documentary to take the top prize in the event’s 90-year history, and the third year in a row that a film directed by a woman has won the prize, after Audrey Diwan’s Happening in 2021 and Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland in 2020.

Venice 2023 winners


Golden Lion - Poor Things, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Special Jury Prize - Green Border, dir. Agnieszka Holland
Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize - Evil Does Not Exist, dir. Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Silver Lion for best director - Matteo Garrone, for Io Capitano
Volpi Cup for Best Actress - Cailee Spaeny, for Priscilla
Volpi Cup for Best Actor - Peter Sarsgaard, for Memory
Golden Osella for Best Screenplay - Pablo Larrain, Guillermo Calderon for El Conde
Marcello Mastroianni Award - Seydou Sarr, for Io Capitano


Best Film - Explanation For Everything, dir. Gabor Reisz
Best Director - Mika Gustafson, for Paradise Is Burning
Special Jury Prize - An Endless Sunday, dir. Alain Parroni
Best Actress - Margarita Rosa de Francesco, for El paraiso
Best Actor - Tergel Bold-Erdene, for City Of Wind
Best Screenplay - El paraiso, dir. Enrico Maria Artale
Best Short Film - A Short Trip, dir. Erenik Beqiri

Horizons Extra

Armani Beauty prize - Felicita, dir. Micaela Ramazzotti

Lion of the Future Luigi de Laurentis Award for a Debut film - Love Is A Gun, dir. Lee Hong-chi

Venice Classics

Best documentary on cinema - Thank You Very Much, dir. Alex Braverman
Best restored film - Moving, dir. Shinji Somai

Venice Immersive – best experience - Emperor, dir. Marion Burguer, Ilan Cohen
Special jury prize - Flow, dir. Adriaan Lokman
Grand jury prize - Songs For A Passerby, dir. Celine Daemen