Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening has been named the president of the jury for the 74th Venice Film Festival.
The “American Beauty” actress, whose other credits include “The Kids Are All Right,” “20th Century Women” and “Bugsy,” is among the few women to serve as chair for the Italian festival — and the first in more than a decade.
“It was time to break with a long list of male presidents and invite a brilliant talented and inspiring woman to chair our international competition jury,” said festival director Alberto Barbera, who recommended Bening for the post to the board of directors.
Catherine Deneuve, Jane Campion and Gong Li were the other female presidents, serving in 2006, 2002 and 1997, respectively. Bening’s “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes was last year’s chair.
Barbera praised Bening’s character, saying she will carry out the role “by virtue of her stature, her intellect and the talents she has manifested over the course of her career, in Hollywood, Europe and on the stage.”
“Hers is a career marked by always interesting, often daring choices. A sophisticated and instinctive actress, able to portray complex shadings of character, Annette Bening brings to her roles an understating, a warmth and a natural elegance that makes watching her films a wonderful and ever enriching experience. I welcome her to Venice,” Barbera said.
Bening and eight other international celebrity jurors will hand out the awards at the festival, including the Golden Lion for best film and Silver Lion for best director and the grand jury prize.
“I’m honored to be asked to serve as the president of the jury for this year’s Venice Film Festival,” Bening said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing the movies and working with my fellow jury members to celebrate the best of this year’s cinema from all over the world.”
The festival runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9, and the official lineup of films will be announced in Rome on July 27.