Toby Wallace’s turn as a small-time drug dealer in Shannon Murphy’s debut feature Babyteeth has won him the Venice Film Festival’s Marcello Mastroianni Award for best young actor.
It is the second year in a row that the prize has been won by an Australian, with last year’s gong going to Baykali Ganambarr for his debut performance in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale.
In Babyteeth, Wallace stars as Moses, the love interest of Eliza Scanlen’s Milla, a terminally ill teenager. Their relationship is a nightmare for Milla’s parents, played by Ben Mendelsohn and Essie Davis, but Milla teaches those in her orbit how to live like there is nothing to lose.
Produced by Alex White and based on Rita Kalnejais’ Belvoir Theatre play of the same name, the film was critically lauded after its debut in competition at Venice last week.
Toby Wallace wins Venice prize for ‘Babyteeth’ performance