Donatellos push back nom dates

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ROME -- Italy's David di Donatello awards have pushed back the closing date for nominations, ostensibly to accommodate actor-director Carlo Verdone, who complained about the early deadline because his upcoming film, "Grande Groso e Verdone" (Grand, Big and Verdone), would have been in theaters too late for consideration. It opens in Italy on Feb. 29.

Organizers of the award said Monday that the new deadline for a film's Italian release is March 7, eight days later than the previous deadline. According to the Italian media, at least two other films that could earn Donatello noms are set to open Feb. 29.

Verdone said last week that he would not attend the Donatello ceremony in protest of the early deadline. As of Monday, there was no word whether the change of dates would prompt him to rethink his plans not to participate.

The move sparked a firestorm in the local press, with famed film producer Aurelio de Laurentiis backing the move in Monday's edition of Rome daily Il Messaggero and Ricardo Tozzi, president of the cinema, audiovisual and multimedia association ANICA, saying that the Donatello organizers risked looking "ridiculous."

Gianluca Rondi, president of the Donatello organizing committee, said he was against a change of dates.

The nominees will be announced March 20.
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