Vanessa Kirby’s best actress win at the Venice film festival on Saturday confirms her ascension to Hollywood royalty after breaking through playing a real royal in Netflix’s The Crown.
The 32-year-old British star was the rebellious Princess Margaret, the British queen’s younger sister, in the streamer’s flagship series.
Kirby had two films vying for the Golden Lion in Venice, the lesbian love story The World to Come, and the tough drama Pieces of a Woman, for which she won the prize. Both made big demands on a woman that Variety called the “outstanding stage actress of her generation”.
Pieces of a Woman opens with Kirby in a jaw-dropping 25-minute childbirth scene, which was filmed in one shot. The film was inspired by the grief the film’s Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo and his screenwriter partner Kata Weber suffered when they lost their own child.
Kirby threw herself “really deep” into her first lead role in a movie, she told reporters. But she admitted trying to be true to the suffering of the women she talked to before the shoot was “really scary”, and she named and thanked them and their lost children in her acceptance speech.
As tears welled up in her eyes, she said she wanted to share the prize with all those parents “who have lost children… sometimes before even life began.”
“We can connect through our pain and heal through it,” she said.