Watch Tilda Swinton’s Impassioned, Intoxicating Venice Golden Lion Acceptance Speech

     September 2, 2020


In her eclectic filmography, featuring works like We Need to Talk About KevinOkja, and Doctor StrangeTilda Swinton has always emanated an ethereal sense of otherworldliness, the vibe of “a compassionate alien who wants to study and communicate with humans in the best way she can.” As it turns out (or perhaps this has always colored our image of her), Swinton behaves this elegantly and eccentrically offscreen, too. At the 2020 Venice Film Festival, Swinton won a Golden Lion lifetime achievement award (via Variety). And her acceptance speech is just something you need experience for yourself.


image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Swinton has been to the Venice Film Festival numerous times, for films like Burn After ReadingOrlando, and all of her collaborations with Luca Guadagnino, which include Suspiria and A Bigger Splash. Even so, Swinton was humble, wondering aloud “how to be able to accept this overwhelming honor with a straight face.” In an age when we’re all very unsure about the future of cinema vis-a-vis a global pandemic (this particular ceremony had its audience members sit one seat apart from each other), Swinton used her time to remind us of the power of moviegoing.

“Cinema is my happy place, my true motherland. Its fellowship is my heart’s family tree. The names on the list of those awarded this honor, meanwhile, they are the names of my masters. They’re the elders of my tribe. The poets of the language I love above others. I sing their songs in the bath. I’m the punk kid film nut hitching a ride to the station to get to the foothills of the heights of their achievements.”

Obviously, I love every second of this pure Swinton energy. But none of them compare to her final statements, which are, simply: “Cinema cinema cinema. Wakanda Forever. Nothing but love.” First of all: To simply repeat “cinema” three times in a row and pull it off is no small task. Second: To pay tribute to her MCU-mate Chadwick Boseman is a lovely, classy use of time and platform. And third: “Nothing but love” is something we could all use more of. Swinton Forever!

Check out the full video of Swinton’s Golden Lion speech embedded below. For more on the actor, here’s the trailer for The French Dispatch, Wes Anderson‘s upcoming film which features Swinton.

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