Helen Mirren Is Best Actress At Venice

And other awards handed out this weekend

As festival season continues, the Venice and Deauville events have wound down by handing out some gongs.

The Venice Fest jury gave its Golden Lion to Jia Zhang-Ke’s Sanxia Haoren, or Still Life. It nearly didn’t get to the event at all, after problems with the Chinese censors and its victory swoop was surprising since a poll of Italian critics didn’t list it in the top three. Chief judge Catherine Deneuve explained the choice: "The beauty of the cinematography and the quality of the story, without getting political, the characters, we were very touched and we were very moved," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "We know it's a very special film."

Britain had a reason to cheer as Helen Mirren nabbed Best Actress for The Queen, which is another step on the awards road for what many are already calling a possible Oscar winner. "It's an incredible honour to have this film take its first steps in Venice," she said. "Peter Morgan is the father of this film, and Stephen Frears is the mother. I'm just a small part of the DNA." Which frankly has us conjuring horrible visions for how the film was made.

Another Queen winner was scriptwriter Peter Morgan, who couldn’t resist a dig at one of the film’s real-life subjects. "Thank you Tony Blair for synchronizing your political disintegration with the release of our film.” Ben Affleck was another surprise winner, scooping Best Actor for Hollywoodland.

Also giving out trophies this weekend was the 32nd Deauville Festival of American Cinema. Little Miss Sunshine took the Grand Prix top prize, with the Jury Prize handed to Half Nelson, starring Ryan Gosling as a drug-addicted teacher.