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Annette Bening Named as President of Venice Film Festival Jury

Actress ends an 11-year run of male jury heads

Annette Bening has been named as the president of the 74th Venice Film Festival jury — the first woman to preside over the competition jury in 11 years. Last year, the jury was headed by Sam Mendes, who directed Bening in “American Beauty.”

“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,” Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

The last woman to head the Venice jury was Catherine Deneuve in 2006. Bening is the sixth female jury president at the world’s oldest film festival, following Deneuve, Gong Li (2002), Jane Campion (1997), Sabine Azéma (1987), and Suso Cecchi D’Amico (1980).

Bening has been nominated for an Academy Award four times (for “The Grifters,” “American Beauty,” “Being Julia” and “The Kids Are All Right”) and has won two Golden Globes over the course of her career. She most recently starred in Mike Mills’ “20th Century Women.” Upcoming projects include “The Seagull,” opposite Saoirse Ronan, and the drama “Life, Itself,” with Olivia Wilde and Oscar Isaac.

“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.”

In recent years, the Venice Film Festival has become an important awards season stop: past world premieres include “La La Land,” “Spotlight” and “Gravity.”

The 74th Venice International Film Festival runs Aug. 20-Sept. 9. The full lineup will be announced on July 27.

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