Director Quentin Tarantino has dismissed accusations he convinced his fellow jury members to award his ex-girlfriend Sofia Coppola the top honor at the Venice Film Festival this weekend.
The 39 year old scooped the Golden Lion on Saturday for her movie Somewhere, which tells story of a bad-boy actor whose life is changed after his young daughter comes to stay. Tarantino chaired the Italian festival's jury - but local journalists claim he favored Coppola, who he dated in the early 2000s, and one of his mentors, Monte Hellman, who was handed a lifetime achievement prize.
However, the moviemaker has hit back at his critics, insisting the winners' work was all he focused on - not his personal relationships with the nominees.
He says, "I wasn't going to let anything like that affect me at all. I was just going to literally respond to the film. There was no me steering any direction. Being her friend didn't affect me or make me sway the jury in any way. The other members of the jury don't know her at all. They just loved the film. We kept coming back to it, as one of us said, because 'It's a great f**king movie', all right?"