The Venice Film Festival has named Cate Blanchett the president of the 2020 competition jury. The announcement follows in the footsteps of Cannes, which announced this week that Spike Lee will be leading the jury for its 2020 festival. Blanchett picks up the baton from “Zama” and “La Ciénaga” filmmaker Lucretia Martel, who was the president of 2019 Venice Film Festival jury. Martel and her jurors selected Todd Phillips’ “Joker” as the best of the festival. Blanchett becomes just the eighth woman in Venice’s 77-year history to serve as jury president.
“Every year I look expectantly to the selection at Venice and every year it is surprising and distinct,” Blanchett said in a statement. “Venice is one of the most atmospheric film festivals in the world — a celebration of the provocative and inspirational medium that is cinema in all its forms. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be this year’s jury president.”
Blanchett is a two-time Oscar winner for Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” (Best Supporting Actress) and Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” (Best Actress). The actress most recently starred in Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go Bernadette,” which earned her a Golden Globe nomination this year for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. Blanchett previously served as the jury president of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival (“Shoplifters” won the Palme d’Or that year), making her one of just two women who have headed up the juries at both Cannes and Venice. The other is “The Piano” filmmaker Jane Campion.
“Cate Blanchett is not just an icon of contemporary cinema, courted by the greatest directors of the past twenty years and adored by moviegoers of every kind,” Venice’s festival head Alberto Barbera said. “Her commitment in the artistic and humanitarian fields and to the protection of the environment, as well as her defense of the emancipation of women in a film industry still coming to terms with male prejudice, have made her an inspiration for society as a whole.”
Venice has now selected a female jury president two years in a row. The festival has come under intense scrutiny over the last several years for failing to feature women directors in its competition lineup. The 2019 Festival only had two women in competition for the Golden Lion. The 2020 Venice Film Festival is set for September 2 – 12.