Steven Spielberg will receive a Golden Lion career award at the 50th Venice Film Festival, fest director Gillo Pontecorvo said Tuesday.

Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” though not in competition, is expected to be one of the highlights of a particularly American-tinted festival.

The pic will have its first showing in Italy Sept. 7, and will open commercially soon after.

Martin Scorsese arrived for a showing of “The Age of Innocence,” inaugurating the festival Tuesday evening. He was accompanied by the pix’ leading actorsDaniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder.

Among the 18 films competing for awards are three American works: “Short Cuts ,” directed by Robert Altman, Gus Van Sant Jr.’s “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” and Abel Ferrara’s “Snake Eyes.”

Other American films in the 12-day event are: Woody Allen’s “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” Jennifer Lynch’s “Boxing Helena,””A Bronx Tale” (directed by Robert De Niro), “The Fugitive” (Andrew Davis), “What’s Love Got to Do With It” (Brian Gibson), “Posse” (Mario Van Peebles), “In the Line of Fire” (Wolfgang Petersen), and “Dave” (Ivan Reitman).

Pontecorvo said at a news conference Tuesday that the heavy U.S. presence, which has angered many in the Italian film world, will return the festival to glory: “Whether you like it or not, American cinema today is the most commercial and what pulls the crowds.”