Venice Film Festival: Competition jury announced – Who will be awarding this year’s Golden Lion?

Venice Film Festival: Competition jury announced – Who will be awarding this year’s Golden Lion?

The Venice Film Festival has unveiled the names that will join Jury President Isabelle Huppert on the main Competition jury of its 81st edition.

It’s a director-heavy selection this year, with jury members including James Gray (Armageddon Time, Ad Astra), Andrew Haigh (All of Us Strangers, 45 Years), Agnieszka Holland (Green Border, Europa Europa), Kleber Mendonça Filho (Bacurau), Abderrahmane Sissako (Timbuktu), Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) and Julia von Heinz (And Tomorrow The Entire World, Treasure). The only performer on the jury this year – aside from Isabelle Huppert - is Zhang Ziyi, the star of Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Revered French actress Huppert was revealed as the president of the jury in May.

“Isabelle Huppert is an immense actress. Demanding, curious and of great generosity,” Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said in a statement. “The muse of numerous great filmmakers, she has never shirked the invitation of young or not-so-famous directors who have seen in her the ideal interpreter of their stories. Her enormous willingness to constantly put herself on the line, a sign of her uncommon intelligence, together with her ability to look at cinema beyond geographic and mental boundaries, make her an ideal president of the jury in a festival open to the entire world such as the Venice Film Festival.”

This year’s festival will open with the world premiere of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, the sequel to the director’s 1988 hit Beetlejuice, starring Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Justin Theroux, Monica Bellucci, Jenna Ortega and Willem Dafoe - who was recently appointed the Artistic Director of the Venice Biennale theatre department for 2025 and 2026.

The Warner Bros sequel will be screened out of competition, and the screening will mark a return to glitzy normal on the Lido’s red carpet, after last year’s festival had less star-wattage than usual considering the then-ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice will begin its international rollout in theatres on 4 September.

The line-up for this year’s festival will be revealed on 25 July.

The festival has built a reputation over the years for being an awards platform and remains the top destination for studios aiming to build Oscar campaigns. Among the rumoured titles for the 81st edition are Todd Phillips’ Joker 2: Folie à Deux starring Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga; Luca Guadagnino’s William S. Burroughs adaptation Queer, starring Daniel Craig; Pablo Larraín’s Maria Callas biopic Maria, starring Angelina Jolie in the title role; and Ron Howard’s survival thriller Eden, starring Jude Law, Ana de Armas, Sydney Sweeney, Vanessa Kirby and Daniel Brühl.

The 81st Venice Film Festival runs from 28 August to 7 September.