Sofia Coppola wins Venice's Golden Lion

Also on Sat., Vincent Gallo, Mila Kunis win acting awards

ROME -- Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere" won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival Saturday with a unanimous vote from the main competition jury that called it a "portrait of Los Angeles today."

Also on Saturday in Venice's Palazzo del Cinema, the Silver Lion prize for Best Director went to Alex de la Iglesia for his Spanish civil war drama "Balada triste de trompeta" (A Sad Trumpet Ballad).

Jerzy Skolimowski's "Essential Killing," about an Afghan prisoner who escapes in Europe, won the festival's special jury prize, while the film's protagonist Vincent Gallo, was given the Coppa Volpi prize for Best Actor. "Attenberg" star Ariane Labed, meanwhile, won the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress.

Coppola's "Somewhere," which tells the story of a popular actor's struggles to be a father to his 11-year-old daughter, lampoons the treatment of stars in Hollywood. The 39-year-old director said the film was based in part on her recollections of travels with her father, famed director Francis Ford Coppola.

It was the second time the younger Coppola premiered a film on the Venice Lido. The first, in 2003, was with "Lost in Translation," which, like "Somewhere," is set predominantly in hotel rooms. That film went on to earn four Oscar nominations, and it won Coppola the Oscar for Best Screenplay.

"Somewhere" sparked some controversy in Italy for its unflattering portrayal of Italian television when the protagonist (played by Stephen Dorff) and his daughter (Elle Fanning) travel to Milan on a promotional junket. But the film opened to strong box office results when appeared in Italian cinemas starting the night of its Venice premiere, Sept. 3. Coppola, Dorff, and Fanning were all on hand for the announcement.

In other prizes announced Saturday, Mikhail Krichman won the Best Photography prize for his work in Aleksei Fedorchenko's "Silent Souls," about an man's moving effort to return his dead wife to the area where she grew up, while de la Iglesia took home his second prize, for Best Screenplay.

Mila Kunis -- who starred opposite Natalie Portman's character in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" -- was given the Mastroianni Prize for the best emerging actor in a film that screened on the Lido. Kunis and Portman played rival ballet dancers in the film, which opened the festival Sept. 1.

"Majority," from 35-year-old Turkish director Seren Yuce, won the Venice Days Lion of the Future award, and "20 Cigarettes," which screened in the Italian sidebar Controcampo Italiano, was given the prize from Italian Film Journalists. The film is the first work from writer and director Aureliano Amadei.

For a full list of winners, click here.