Venice: The Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, has taken the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival.
Director Todd Phillips' film about the comic book villain is already being tipped for the Oscars.
Roman Polanski won the Grand Jury Prize for An Officer and a Spy, despite controversy over of its inclusion.
Polanski did not attend the ceremony. His wife Emmanuelle Seigner, who stars in the film, took to the stage instead.
The chair of the jury, Argentine director Lucrezia Martel, had previously defended the film's inclusion, while admitting it made made her “uncomfortable"
"I will not congratulate him, but I think it is correct that his movie is here at this festival," she said during the festival's opening press conference.
The festival had also been criticised for its male-dominated line-up, with just two of the 21 films coming from female directors.
However, it was climate protesters who occupied the red carpet ahead of the closing ceremony.
They were protesting against huge cruise ships visiting Venice, something, they say, which is damaging the environment.
Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger and actor Donald Sutherland were were among those to acknowledge the protesters and back their cause.
The pair were promoting Giuseppe Capotondi's film, The Burnt Orange Heresy, which they star in.