Art and Experience: Festival director Alberto Barbera says it was time to “break with a long list of male presidents.”

Annette Bening (The Kids Are All RightBeing JulieAmerican BeautyBugsy) will head up the international competition jury of the upcoming Venice International Film Festival.

Bening has been nominated for an Academy Award four times. Over her 30-year career in the industry, she has won two Golden Globes, a SAG award and a BAFTA among other honors. She recently appeared in a critically-acclaimed performance in Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women. Her upcoming films include Michael Mayer’s The Seagull, Paul McGuigan’s Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, and Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself.

“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, whose jury has not had a female head in more than a decade. “I am extremely happy that Annette Bening has accepted this role, which she will carry out 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,” continued Barbera. “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.”

Added Bening: “I’m honored to be asked to serve as the President of the jury for this year’s Venice Film Festival. 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.”

Bening, along with eight fellow jurors will award the following prizes: Golden Lion for best film, Silver Lion for best director, Silver Lion grand jury prize, Coppa Volpi for best actor and actress, award for best screenplay, special jury prize, and the Marcello Mastroianni award for best new young actor or actress.

Last year American Beauty director Sam Mendes headed the jury, awarding the Golden Lion to Lav Diaz for The Woman Who Left. Tom Ford won the grand jury prize for Nocturnal Animals, and Emma Stone won best actress for La La Land. Stone later went on to win the best actress Academy Award for her role.

The 74th Venice International Film Festival will run Aug. 30-Sept. 9. The full festival lineup will be announced on July 27.

Source: hollywoodreporter