- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

ROME (AP) - This year’s Venice Film Festival will include a stylish thriller from Tom Ford, a sci-fi drama with Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams and a star turn from Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Organizers of the world’s oldest film festival announced a 20-strong competition lineup Thursday that includes fashion designer Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals,” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi feature “Arrival” and Pablo Larrain’s biopic of the former U.S. first lady, “Jackie.”

Venice is an important awards-season springboard - along with the overlapping Toronto Film Festival - and gave Academy Award best-picture winner “Spotlight” its world premiere last year.

Potential awards contenders in Venice this year include U.S. filmmaker Derek Cianfrance’s “The Light Between Oceans” - a domestic drama set in a remote lighthouse starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander - and Dutch director Martin Koolhoven’s thriller “Brimstone,” with Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce.

Films competing for the festival’s coveted Golden Lion prize also include American auteur Terrence Malick’s documentary “Voyage of Time” and new films from cinema heavyweights including France’s Francois Ozon (“Frantz”), Germany’s Wim Wenders (“The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez”), Serbia’s Emir Kusturica (“On the Milky Road”) and Russia’s Andrei Konchalovsky (“Paradise”).

Other contenders include “The Bad Batch,” a cannibal love story starring Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves from Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpour, and “La Region Salvaje” (“The Untamed”) by hard-hitting Mexican filmmaker Amat Escalante.

Also screening at the festival, although not in prize competition, is Mel Gibson’s World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge.” The story of a pacifist army medic, it’s Gibson’s first film as a director since 2006, the year he launched an anti-Semitic tirade during a drunk-driving arrest.

The 73rd Venice festival opens Aug. 31 on the maritime city’s Lido island with the world premiere of Damien Chazelle’s musical romance “La La Land,” with singing, dancing performances from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

The festival closes Sept. 10 with Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the classic Western, “The Magnificent Seven,” starring Denzel Washington.

The winner of the Golden Lion and other prizes will be decided by a jury led by “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes.

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