Surprise! ‘The Master’ Tops Our End-of-Venice Poll

Surprise! 'The Master' Tops Our End-of-Venice Poll

In a development that surprised precisely no one, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” received the most votes for the best film from Venice Film Festival, as determined by an informal poll of Criticwire members covering the festival. After lengthy speculation that the film would be skipping Venezia 69, when it finally arrived, the critics responded with vigor.

The film’s rising tide also resulted in a wealth of postivity towards the three central performances. In a move that awards season hindsight might prove amusing, all our respondents regarded Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman as lead performances, with the two appearing together on multiple ballots. Amy Adams’ supporting turn was the only one to merit multiple inclusions as the best of the entire lineup.

In our previous end-of-festival poll at Tribeca, there was some overlap as critics looked to catch up with films that had bowed at Sundance or elsewhere. While this phenomenon may reoccur with our TIFF wrap-up later in the month, the majority of feedback we received was aimed at Venice premieres. The closest to a connection with previous festivals this year is Ulrich Seidl’s “Paradise: Faith,” the sequel of sorts to his “Paradise: Love,” which opened at Cannes back in May.

Besides garnering the second-place overall narrative slot, Tobias Lindholm’s “A Hijacking” received votes for four of its actors. The thriller, which follows a Danish freight ship as it’s overrun by Somali pirates, featured vote-getting performances for men on both side of the resultant hostage situation. For a quick guide of who plays who amidst the seafaring tension, check out Oliver Lyttelton’s review of the film at The Playlist.

Of those critics who did vote for non-narrative features, Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell” was the clear standout, with four first-place mentions. Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson album retrospective “Bad 25” also appeared on multiple entries.

Although the film had its detractors (and will likely continue to divide audiences as it makes its way through festivals over the coming weeks and months), Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” picked up a few nods as one of the festival’s best. In the traditional performance that exists in the midpoint between “lead” and “supporting,” James Franco’s turn as Alien got first-place votes in both categories.

Continue to the next page for a complete list of results as well as individual ballots.

[Note: Scores for individual categories were tabulated on a simple weighted scale, with a first-place vote earning five points, second place earning 4 points, and so on. Critics could list fewer than five for a particular category or abstain from one altogether.]

(LEGEND: Film or Performance: Number of Mentions – (First-Place Votes) – Aggregate Score)

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. The Master – 8 – (4) – 28

2. A Hijacking – 3 – (1) – 12

3. Spring Breakers – 3 – (1) – 11

4. Paradise: Faith – 4 – (0) – 10

5. La cinquième saison  – 3 – (1) – 10 

Also Receiving First Place Votes: “Me Too,” “Wadjda”

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master” – 8 – (4) – 30

2. Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master” – 6 – (3) – 24

3. Maria Hofstätter, “Paradise: Faith” – 4 – (2) – 16

4. Franziska Petri, “Betrayal” – 4 – (0) – 11

5. Nora Aunor, “Thy Womb” – 2 – (0) – 7

Also Receiving First Place Votes: Alexander Morin, “Me Too”; James Franco, “Spring Breakers”

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. Amy Adams, “The Master” – 5 – (2) – 20

2. James Franco, “Spring Breakers” – 2 – (1) – 9

3. Irit Sheleg, “Fill the Void” – 2 – (1) – 8

4. Abdihakin Asgar, “A Hijacking” – 2 – (0) – 5

T5. Kim Dickens, “At Any Price” – 1 – (1) – 5

T5. Ben Affleck, “To the Wonder” – 1 – (1) – 5

Criticwire Member Ballots:

Kaleem Aftab, The Independent

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. Wadjda

2. At Any Price

3. The Master

4. Tai Chi 0

5. The Reluctant Fundamentalist

BEST DOCUMENTARY

1. Stories We Tell

2. Bad 25

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

2. Reem Abdullah, “Wadjda”

3. Riz Ahmed, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”

Beatrice Behn

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. Spring Breakers

2. La cinquième saison

3. Paradise: Faith

4. The Master

5. Betrayal

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Maria Hofstätter, “Paradise: Faith”

2. Franziska Petri, “Betrayal”

3. Nora Aunor, “Thy Womb”

4. Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

5. Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. James Franco, “Spring Breakers”

2. Amy Adams, “The Master”

3. Hadas Yaron, “Fill the Void”

4. John Malkovich, “Lines of Wellington”

5. Lola Créton, “Something in the Air”

Frédéric Jaeger, critic.de

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. The Master

2. Something in the Air

3. Passion

4. Paradise: Faith

5. Leones

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Maria Hofstätter, “Paradise: Faith”

2. Noomi Rapace, “Passion”

3. Nora Aunor, “Thy Womb”

4. Clément Métayer, “Something in the Air”

5. Takeshi Kitano, “Outrage Beyond”

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. Ben Affleck, “To the Wonder”

2. Javier Bardem, “To the Wonder”

3. Carole Combes, “Something in the Air”

4. Amy Adams, “The Master”

5. Isabelle Carré, “Cherchez Hortense”

Manolis Kranakis, Flix.gr

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. The Master

2. Pieta

3. At Any Price

4. Penance

5. La cinquième saison

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Joaquin Phoenix/Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

2. Dennis Quaid, “At Any Price”

3. Kad Merad, “Superstar”

4. Cho Min-Soo, “Pieta”

5. Lee Jung-jin, “Pieta”

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. Amy Adams, “The Master”

2. Cécile De France, “Superstar”

Guy Lodge, Hitfix

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. The Master

2. Betrayal

3. A Hijacking

4. To the Wonder

5. Fill the Void

[BEST DOCUMENTARY: Stories We Tell]

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

2. Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

3. Franziska Petri, “Betrayal”

4. Hadas Yaron, “Fill the Void”

5. Soren Malling, “A Hijacking”

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. Kim Dickens, “At Any Price”

2. Amy Adams, “The Master”

3. Irit Sheleg, “Fill the Void”

4. Susan Sarandon, “The Company You Keep”

5. Gary Skjoldmose Porter, “A Hijacking”

Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. A Hijacking

2. To the Wonder

3. Paradise: Faith

4. The Master

5. Something in the Air

BEST DOCUMENTARY

1. Stories We Tell

2. Bad 25

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

2. Pilou Asbaek, “A Hijacking”

3. Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

4. Maria Hofstätter, “Paradise: Faith”

5. Dennis Quaid, “At Any Price”

(Honorable Mention for an excellent performance in a bad film – Riz Ahmed, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”)

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. Amy Adams, “The Master”

2. James Franco, “Spring Breakers”

3. Abdihakin Asgar, “A Hijacking”

4. Adriano Luz, “Lines of Wellington”

5. Alexandra Dahlstrom, “Blondie”

(Honorable Mention for excellent performances in a bad film – Jason Bateman & Frank Grillo, “Disconnect”)

Matt Mueller, Thompson on Hollywood

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. The Master

2. Something in the Air

3. Disconnect

4. The Iceman

5. At Any Price

BEST DOCUMENTARY

1. Stories We Tell

2. Enzo Avitabile Music Life

3. Bad 25

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

2. Michael Shannon, “The Iceman”

3. Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

4. Winona Ryder, “The Iceman”

5. Jason Bateman, “Disconnect”

Anna Tatarska, Fandor/KINO

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. La cinquième saison

2. Spring Breakers

3. Fill the Void

4. Paradise: Faith

5. The Master

BEST DOCUMENTARY

1. Stories We Tell

2. Anton’s Right Here

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. James Franco, “Spring Breakers”

2. Maria Hofstätter, “Paradise: Faith”

3. Franziska Petri, “Betrayal”

4. Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

5. Vanessa Hudgens, “Spring Breakers”

Neil Young, Film Lounge

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

1. Me Too

2. A Hijacking

3. Fill the Void

4. Spring Breakers

5. A Special Day

BEST DOCUMENTARY

1. The Triplet

2. Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction

3. Stories We Tell

4. Three Sisters

5. Anton’s Right Here

BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE

1. Alexander Mosin, “Me Too”

2. Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”

3. Michael Lonsdale, “Gebo and the Shadow”

4. Franziska Petri, “Betrayal”

5. Tan Zhuo, “Lotus”

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE

1. Irit Sheleg, “Fill the Void”

2. Jurij Matveyev, “Me Too”

3. Leonor Silveira, “Gebo and the Shadow”

4. Abdihakin Asgar, “A Hijacking”

5. Nabil Seleh, “Paradise: Faith”

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