Venice Film Festival to host Oscar hopefuls, controversy

The Venice International Film Festival may be 76, but it’s more relevant and divisive than ever.

The esteemed festival which kicks off Wednesday on the Lido has seen the launch of its share of Oscar best picture winners, like “The Shape of Water,” and nominees, like “Roma.” This year should be no different with the anticipated debuts of the Brad Pitt space film “Ad Astra,” the Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver divorce drama “Marriage Story” and “Joker,” with Joaquin Phoenix.

The festival has also been criticized for its lack of female directors in competition and for programming new films from Roman Polanski, who plead guilty to unlawful sex with a minor over 40 years ago, and Nate Parker, who has been accused of rape.

The Venice Film Festival runs through Sept. 7.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

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