Film award record holders: conquerors of Cannes, Berlin and Venice

History knows only three directors who collected the highest awards at three prestigious film festivals in Europe: Cannes, Berlin and Venice.

The first person to score such a unique festival hat-trick was the Frenchman Henri-Georges Clouzot. In 1953, his film “The Wages of Fear” received top awards in Cannes and Berlin. This is the only case in history when one film won two prestigious film forums at once. Well, a little earlier, in 1949, his film “Manon” was recognized as the best in Venice.

He managed to collect all three of these authoritative awards so quickly because at that time – the end of the 40s, the beginning of the 50s – all these film forums had not yet received the conditional status of “ruler of the thoughts of all film fans in the world,” in which they have undoubtedly established themselves today. Subsequently, these film forums began to compete with each other. Therefore, it is simply impossible today for one film to conquer two such powerful film festivals at once.

In the 60s, Michelangelo Antonioni managed to repeat Clouzot’s record in just seven years. In those years, Italian cinema was on the rise and many considered it the locomotive of the world film process. Antonioni’s victories were partly the embodiment of this trend.

In 1961 he received the Golden Bear for “Night”
In 1964 – “Golden Lion” for “Red Desert”
In 1967 – Palme d’Or for “Photo Enlargement”

American cinema icon Robert Altman collected all three of these awards over the course of 23 long years.

In 1970, he received the Golden Bough for “Military Field Hospital M.E.Sh.”
In 1976 – “Golden Bear” for “Buffalo Bill and the Indians”
In 1993 – “Golden Lion” for “Short Editing”

The three aforementioned directors received awards specifically for their films. However, these film festivals also present honorary awards, which are given not for a specific film, but for “contribution to cinema” and “creative achievements.” If we take into account such prizes, then the list of directors who have in their collection all three main awards from the three most respected film festivals in Europe stretches to twelve.

Ingmar Bergman won with Strawberry Field at the Berlinale in 1958. In 1971, he received the Golden Lion for his contribution to cinema, and in 1997 he was awarded the super-version of the Palme d’Or at the 50th anniversary Cannes Film Festival.

Roman Polanski received the Golden Bear in 1966 for his film Dead End. In 1993 he received the Golden Lion for his contribution to cinema, and in 2002 he won at Cannes with his “The Pianist”.

Billy Wilder was awarded the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946 for his film The Lost Weekend. Well, he received the Golden Lion and the Bear for personal creative achievements in 1972 and 1993, respectively.

Paolo and Vittorio Taviani received the main awards at Cannes (The Master Father, 1977) and the Berlinale (Caesar Must Die, 2012). And they received the Golden Lion in 1986 “for high achievements in cinema.”

Francesco Rosi was awarded the highest award at the Venice Film Festival in 1963 for the film Hands Over the City. In 1972 he received the Palme d’Or for The Mattei Affair. But he never managed to conquer the Berlinale with his films. He received the Golden Bear in 2008 “for his contribution to cinema.”

Andrzej Wajda began collecting this set of awards in 1981, when he was awarded the Palme d’Or for Man of Iron. Well, he received the “bear” and “lion” for his contribution to cinema in 1998 and 2006, respectively.

In 2015, Wim Wenders was added to this list of directors, who was awarded the Golden Bear for personal creative achievements in cinema. And he received the main prizes at Cannes and Venice precisely for his films. In 1982, his “State of Things” was awarded the “Golden Lion”, and in 1984 his “Paris, Texas” was recognized as the best on the Cote d’Azur.

Jean-Luc Godard was awarded a special Palme d’Or only in 2018 for his film The Book of Images. This was a special reward. In 1965, he was awarded the Berlinale Golden Bear for his film Alphaville. The director also has two Venice Golden Lions, awarded for the film “The Name of Carmen” (1983) and for his contribution to cinema (1982).


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