American film Nomadland Victory at Venice Film Festival

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Francis McDormand (left) and Chloe Zhao (center) accept the Golden Lion Award from California via Zoom

The American film Nomadland has won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, the first such event with a live audience since the Kovid-19 outbreak.

Chloe Zhao, a film of Chinese origin, is living in Francis MacDormand as a widow after the 2008 financial crisis.

The historical drama Wife of a Spy was also recognized by Mexican director Michele Franco’s thriller New Order and Japan’s Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Guests were required to wear masks at the screening.

About half the seats at the Lido waterfront sites were left vacant, and some celebrities traveled to the world’s oldest film festival.

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Cate Blanchett was chairman of the jury in Lagoon City

Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who led the jury in the 77th edition of the celebration, said the winner was chosen after “healthy and strong” deliberations by jurors.

“Good discussion is a good discussion with a mask or not,” she said.

Zhao, who is the first woman to win the festival’s top award, the Golden Lion, in 10 years, and McDormond was speaking from California via Zoom.

McDormand said, “Thank you so much for letting us come to your festival in this weird, weird, weird world and way.”

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Chloe Zhao at Nomadland’s drive-in premiere on Friday

The grand jury award of the festival went to Franco’s film, while Kurosawa was named Best Director. They were jointly given silver lions.

Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky was awarded the Special Jury Award for Dear Comrades !, a film about the 1962 massacre of protesters in the USSR.

Britain’s Vanessa Kirby won the Best Actress award, while the Best Actor Award went to Italy’s Pierfranco Favino.

Last year, Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, won the Festival’s top award.

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The annual gathering is one of the “big three” film festivals in the Italian city along with Cannes and Berlin.

The Berlin festival was scheduled from 20 February to 1 March.

But the organizers of the Cannes festival – which was scheduled to take place in May – were forced to postpone the event due to a coronovirus outbreak.