Director Quentin Tarantino led the jury at the Venice film festival this year, and critics have pointed out that his position of power may have presented a serious conflict of interest regarding the films that won awards.  Tarantino says that the jury selected the winners based on the merits of the respective films themselves, and the fact that those winners included some of Tarantino’s closest friends was mere coincidence.

Tarantino’s ex-girlfriend Sofia Coppola won the award for best picture, and his close friend Alex de la Iglesia won both best director and best original screenplay.  The jury even invented a new career achievement award that was then given to Monte Hellman, whose work Tarantino cites as a primary influence.  Critics in Italy have publicly criticized the jury’s decisions, claiming that there was never any way Tarantino could have made impartial choices with his friends up for awards.  Tarantino says the accusations are nonsense and that he would never let himself be swayed by favoritism.

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