Best known for her iconic roles in “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music,” Andrews has starred in more than 40 movies, including a memorable performance as Victoria Grant and Count Victor Grezhinski in “Victor Victoria” (1982), which was directed by her late husband, Blake Edwards. He also directed Andrews in “10” (1979) and in “S.O.B.” (1981).
“This Golden Lion is the well-deserved recognition of an extraordinary career which has admirably parsed popular success with artistic ambition, without ever bowing to facile compromises,” Alberto Barbera, the Venice Film Festival’s artistic director, said in a statement.
“I am so honored to have been selected as this year’s recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement,” Andrews said, thanking the festival’s parent organization, the Venice Biennale, “for this acknowledgment of my work.”
In 2010, Andrews starred as the Tooth Fairy Matriarch in Michael Lambeck’s “Tooth Fairy,” in a performance praised by Variety as “practically perfect in every way.” She has also recently played several voice roles in the “Shrek” and “Despicable Me” franchises and in recent Warner Bros. blockbuster “Aquaman.” She starred in 2001’s “The Princess Diaries” alongside Anne Hathaway, which was one of the most successful family films that year, and reprised her role as Queen Renaldi in 2004’s “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.”
Barbera said that, during the course of her career, Andrews has gone out of her way “to avoid remaining confined” to just being an icon of family movies, accepting roles that are “diverse, dramatic, provocative and imbued with scathing irony.” As examples of her range, Barbera cited Andrews’ early role as a war widow with a penchant for falling in love with soldiers in Arthur Hiller’s anti-war romcom “The Americanization of Emily,” as well as the comedies she made with Edwards.
Born in 1935 into a musical family in England, Andrews was already a stage star, first in Britain and subsequently on Broadway – where she was nominated for Tony Awards for her roles in “Camelot” and “My Fair Lady” – before “Mary Poppins,” for which she won an Oscar. She has been a beloved stage, screen, and TV star ever since.
The 76th Venice Film Festival will run Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.