Director Guillermo del Toro, whose latest film The Shape of Water is tipped to win big at the Oscars, will chair the Venice Film Festival jury, organisers announced Monday.

The Shape of Water, a Cold War-set story of love between a mute cleaning woman and a mystery merman-like creature, has once again propelled the filmmaker into the Hollywood limelight.

The fantasy romance won the 53-year-old the best director award at the Golden Globes and has earned 13 Oscar nominations, one shy of the record held by 2017’s La La Land together with All About Eve in 1950 and 1997’s Titanic. It also scooped the top prize, the prestigious Golden Lion, at last year’s Venice festival.

Throughout his career, Del Toro has alternated between big-budget Hollywood productions such as “Blade II” and more personal Spanish-language projects. In 2006, he received critical acclaim for his dark fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth which won three Oscars.

The film festival will light up the Italian city’s Biennale with international stars from August 29 to September 8.


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