An alleged fix has rocked the Venice Film Festival after a group of Italian journalists accused jury president Quentin Tarantino of favouring ex-girlfriends, pals and associates.
The outcry came after the filmmaker's former lover Sophia Coppola claimed the festival's main prize, the Golden Lion, on Saturday (11Sep10) for her drama Somewhere.
Tarantino has since insisted her win was unanimous, but the local media is still questioning the director's choice, especially after his friend Alex de la Iglesia won two prizes for his film Balada triste de trompeta and one of his mentors, Monte Hellman, was handed a lifetime achievement prize created by the jury, led by the moviemaker.
And now the Kill Bill director has become the target of Italian critics, who have accused him of favouritism.
Leading film writer Paolo Mereghetti tells the Correre della Sera newspaper, "The presidency of Quentin Tarantino runs the risk of turning into the most obvious conflict of interest possible."
Other journalists have questioned why de la Iglesia's film was such a hit, when the movie was largely panned in Italy.
Festival bosses have yet to comment on the controversy.