Sofia Coppola scooped the top prize, The Golden Lion, at the Venice Film Festival on Friday.
However, as she celebrated the success of her latest film Somewhere, the rumour mill was already going into overdrive criticising Quentin Tarantino, who headed the jury, for favouritism in his judging.
Sofia, who’s most famous film is Lost in Translation, used to date The Inglorious Basterds director and remains close friends with him. Another long-term friend of his, Alex de la Iglesia, was awarded two prizes, including Best Director for Balada Triste de Trompeta (A Sad Trumpet Ballad).
If that wasn’t enough to get people talking, the lifetime achievement prize, which was created by the jury, was given to Monte Hellman, who is well known as one of Tarantino’s mentors.
The Italian press have been making their feelings about it clear over the weekend with Paolo Mereghetti, chief film critic for Italy’s largest newspaper, Corriere della Sera, saying: “The presidency of Quentin Tarantino runs the risk of turning into the most obvious conflict of interest possible if you remember that Somewhere and [Hellman’s film] Road to Nowhere were charming and interesting in their own ways, but nothing more than that.”
Tarantino has strongly denied any sort of favouritism, he said: “That wasn’t difficult at all. Being her friend didn’t affect me or make me sway the jury in any way.
“Sure, I created guidelines but she won it fair and square and unanimously.
“The other members of the Jury don’t know her at all. They just loved the film. We kept coming back to it, as one of us said, because ‘it’s a great fucking movie,’ all right?”
Coppola, who is the first American woman to receive the award, seemed unfazed by the remarks saying she was really proud to win the award and thanked her father for teaching her. The film is very loosely based on her relationship with her father. For more information on it see our previous story here.
What do you think, was there favouritism at play? Do you think you’ll be watching Somewhere?