Todd Phillips’ eagerly anticipated new film, Joker, reigned supreme at the Venice Film Festival and took home the event’s big prize, the Golden Lion for Best Film.

The film, which has fans of the franchise whipped up into a frenzy with excitement, was co-written by Phillips and Scott Silver, the man previously behind 8 Mile. The film tells the story of failed comedian Arthur Fleck who encounters violent thugs while wandering the streets of Gotham City dressed as a clown. Disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow dissent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.

[MORE] – Joaquin Phoenix came up with The Joker film “years ago”

With Joaquin Phoenix famously in the lead role, the film has been described as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale.”

In his acceptance speech, Phillips thanked Phoenix for his performance: “There is no movie without Joaquin Phoenix. Joaquin is the fiercest and brightest and most open-minded lion I know. Thank you for trusting me with your insane talent,” he said.

Elsewhere, Roman Polanski claimed the Grand Jury Prize for his film An Officer And A Spy, a French drama film about the Dreyfus affair and based on Robert Harris’ 2013 novel of the same name.

See the full list of winners, below.

Venice Film Festival 2019 winners:

Golden Lion
Joker; dir: Todd Phillips

Grand Jury Prize
An Officer And A Spy: dir: Roman Polanski

Silver Lion, Best Director
Roy Andersson; About Endlessness

Volpi Cup, Best Actress
Ariane Ascaride; Gloria Mundi

Volpi Cup, Best Actor
Luca Marinelli, Martin Eden

Best Screenplay
Yonfan; No. 7 Cherry Lane

Special Jury Prize
La Mafia Non E Più Quello Di Una Volta; dir: Franco Moresco

Marcello Mastroianni Award for for Best New Young Actor or Actress
Toby Wallace, Babyteeth

HORIZONS
Best Film
Atlantis; dir: Valentyn Vasyanovych

Best Director
Theo Court; Blanco En Blanco

Special Jury Prize
Verdict; dir: Raymund Ribay Guttierez

Best Actress
Marta Nieto; Madre

Best Actor
Sami Bouajila; A Son

Best Screenplay
Jessica Palud, Revenir

Best Short Film
Darling; dir: Saim Sadiq

LION OF THE FUTURE — LUIGI DE LAURENTIIS VENICE AWARD FOR A DEBUT FILM
You Will Die At 20; dir: Amjad Abu Alala

VENICE VIRTUAL REALITY
Best VR
The Key; dir: Céline Tricart

Best VR Experience
A Linha; dir: Ricardo Laganaro

Best VR Story
Daughters Of Chibok; dir: Joel Kachi Benson

VENICE CLASSICS
Best Documentary on Cinema
Babenco; dir: Barbara Paz

Best Restoration
Ecstasy; Gustav Machaty

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