Venice Film Festival + MTV VMAs: What You Missed

Zendaya and Timothee at the Venice Film Festival
Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures. © 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hey Hollywooders! This was a big weekend in the entertainment world with the Venice Film Festival wrapping up Saturday September 11 and the VMAs taking place on Sunday September 12.

Didn’t have a chance to tune in? Maybe you decided to head to the movies, catch up with friends, or swoon over Britney’s beautiful ring? Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered with highlights from both major events!

VMA Awards performances that stole the show

The 2021 MTV VMAs started with an opening from Madonna paying tribute to New York and MTV, as this year marks MTV’s 40th year on the air.

The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber gave the first performance of the night, singing their hit song stay for the live audience at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The two sang on top of a mountain, delivering a high-energy performance fitted with strobe lights. The song then transitioned into Justin Bieber’s “Ghost” as he sang alone through the fog onstage.

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Olivia Rodrigo was the next artist to grace the VMAs stage, singing her viral track “good 4 U.” Olivia donned a purple cupcake dress and strutted the stage in black combat boots as her dancers moved around her. In an overhead shot of the stage, viewers at home could see that the set spelled out “good 4 U.” The performance ended with sparklers and digital butterflies and balloons soaring over the crowd before Olivia Rodrigo punched the camera lens with her microphone.

Kacey Musgraves gave her first VMA performance following the release of her fifth studio album star-crossed. She sang the title track on a stage lit up by candles and neon signs of the album’s logo. As the performance progressed, a fire began burning on stage in the shape of a heart, giving an intense ending to the song.

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Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow performed their hit “INDUSTRY BABY” along with a marching band. Lil Nas X dressed as part of the band, then appeared in “Montero Prison” wearing a pink uniform. He was full of energy, dancing and jumping around the stage. Jack Harlow came out in a shiny black outfit and after his verse, Lil Nas X had a full-on dance number that led into his song “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name).”

Host Doja Cat performed her song “Been Like This” as she was suspended in the air, floating the the middle of a giant ring that illuminated her. She returned to the stage to perform “You Right,” dancing in a bright red outfit as a light shone down on her through the ring.

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The night ended with an electrifying performance from Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker of MGK’s song “papercuts.” Machine Gun Kelly played the guitar and Travis Barker played the drums as flames lit up the stage. The performance ended with MGK smashing his guitar before lying down on the stage. This marked his first VMA mainstage performance.

Hollywood’s hottest artists win big at the VMAs 

Pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo took home the awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year for her chart-topping track “driver’s license.” When accepting the award for Song of the Year, Olivia Rodrigo thanked her fans and dedicated the award to “all of the other girls who write songs on the bedroom floor.” She said, “There are a lot of people who will try to dim your light but speaking your mind and sharing your heart are the most beautiful things in the world and here’s to that.”

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Justin Bieber was named Artist of the Year and emphasized the importance of music during these hard times in his acceptance speech:

There’s so much going on in the world as we speak… I just wanted to say that music is such an amazing opportunity and an amazing outlet to be able to reach people and be able to bring us all together and that’s why we’re here right now.”

Justin Bieber also won the competitive Best Pop for his song “Peaches” featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon.

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Billie Eilish’s song “Your Power” won the Video for Good award, previously known as Best Video with a Social Message. “Your Power” focuses on power imbalances in a relationship and young women being exploited and manipulated by the people they trust.

After thanking her fans, Billie Eilish took a moment to say “I feel like I was trying to write this song for a really long time and then I feel like I finally did. And it was so satisfying and freeing and also really f—king sad.” She said,  “And I just want to say that we need to protect our young women at all costs.”

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Travis Scott won the award for Best Hip Hop with his song “FRANCHISE” featuring Young Thug and MIA. When accepting the award, Travis said to the audience “Love is the biggest thing that we could ever hold. Everyone spread love and everything will be okay.”

Lil Nas X took home the award for Video of the Year with his song “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name).” He thanked his fans and supporters saying “I love you guys so much, I do not take this for granted.”

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Billie Eilish presented the Global Icon Award to the Foo Fighters who performed a medley of their songs before accepting the honor and thanking everyone at MTV.

VMA Awards 2021: best looks  

On the red carpet, Lil Nas X turned heads wearing a purple half-dress/ half-suit that hung off his shoulder and ran down to the floor, filled with sequins. He also donned a curly wig and butterfly earrings.

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Power couple Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox stunned on the red carpet with MGK wearing a sparkling bright red suit and Megan Fox donning a sheer, glittery bodycon dress.

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Host Doja Cat wore many jaw-dropping looks throughout the three-hour award show including a pillowy worm dress, an outfit that made her look like a Thanksgiving turkey, and a chair as a hat!

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles announced Doja Cat’s performance, wearing a sleek and simple pale pink, one-shoulder gown.

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Hailey Bieber was a presenter at the VMAs and stunned in a sheer lavender dress and cute updo.

Cinderella star Billy Porter wore a show-stopping metallic suit to present Lil Nas X’s performance.

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World premieres at the Venice International Film Festival  

The 78th Venice International Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday September 1 and wrapped up on Saturday September 11.

Many upcoming movie releases had their world premieres at the Venice International Film Festival. The highly-anticipated sci-fi film Dune premiered on September 3. It is based on the 1965 novel of the same name and stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, and Zendaya.

Following its world premiere, Dune’s first reviews began rolling in. Clarisse Loughrey of Independent gave the film 5 stars and called it “this generation’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.”  

The biographical drama Spencer also premiered on Friday, September 3 in the ‘In Competition’ category. The film is based on the life of Princess Diana, played by Kristen Stewart, and stars Timothy Spall, Sean Harris, Sally Hawkins, and Jack Farthing. According to Variety, the film received a 3-minute long standing ovation at the festival.

Last Night in Soho premiered on September 4 to many favorable reviews. The psychological horror film was written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Edgar Wright, who also directed the film. It features Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, and Diana Rigg. The Guardian’s Xan Brooks called Last Night in Soho “a gaudy time-travel romp” that is “thoroughly silly and stupidly enjoyable.”

The upcoming slasher film Halloween Kills is the 12th film in the Halloween franchise. The movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, and Will Patton, and was directed by David Gordon Green. Halloween Kills premiered on September 8 in the Venice International Film Festival’s ‘Out of Competition’ category and will be released in theaters and on Peacock on October 15.

Venice Film Festival winners 

The Venice International Film Festival’s hughes prize, the Golden Lion, was awarded to Happening, a French drama directed by Audrey Diwan. The film was written by Marcia Romano, Anne Berest, and Audrey Diwan and stars Anamaria Vartolomei, Kacey Mottet Klein, and Sandrine Bonnaire.

According to Associated Press, Happening (L’Evenement in French) is an abortion drama about “a French college student who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy.”

The Grand Jury Prize went to The Hand of God, a semi-autobiographical Italian drama that was written, directed, and produced by Paolo Sorrentino. The films stars Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponangelo, and Luisa Ranieri.

The drama The Power of the Dog won the Venice International Film Festival’s Silver Lion award. The film was written and directed by Jane Champion and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Both Jamie Lee Curtis and Roberto Benigni won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Penélope Cruz won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her work in the Spanish drama Parallel Mothers, while John Arcilla took home the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for his role in the Philippine crime thriller On the Job: The Missing 8.

Fans react to VMAs and Venice Film Festival

Fans quickly took to Twitter to discuss these two huge events in entertainment.

One fan said that they thought Olivia Rodrigo carried the VMAs with her performance, looks, and wins.

Grace said that she loved Chlöe Bailey’s first solo VMA performance.

This Twitter user praised Megan Fox’s red carpet looks saying that she looked “undeniably hot.” (We’d have to agree!!)

One fan said it felt like a dream when she saw Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck make their red carpet debut at the Venice International Film Festival.

Fans on TikTok swooned over Zendaya’s and Timothée Chalamet’s looks throughout the festival!

@anythingfashion_zendayas dress is stunning #foryou #fyp #dunes #zendaya #timotheechalamet #venicefilmfestival2021♬ hot in here – siredaudio

Another TikTok user said they “spontaneously combusted” when they saw Anya Taylor-Joy donning a pink floral dress for the premiere of Last Night in Soho.

@floralvspsi spontaneously combusted when i saw these photos #anyataylorjoy #venicefilmfestival♬ Linda And Heather Theme Song – nooneinparticular

We’re so happy for all of the artists that were honored at this year’s VMAs and we can’t wait to see new movies like Dune at the theater soon!

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