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'Gomorra' in Oscar's foreign-language gang

Italian organized crime drama joins list of contenders

ROME -- Matteo Garrone's "Gomorra," which won the Grand Prix at the Festival de Cannes in May, on Wednesday was named Italy's candidate for the foreign-language Oscar race.

"Gomorra," based on the best-selling book, has attracted wide attention for its story about the Naples Mafia, called the Camorra. The film's name is a play on words between the name of the organized crime group and the Biblical city of sin, Gomorrah.

Italy has won 13 of the 61 Oscars for best foreign-language film, more than any other country. But it has been a decade since the last Italian film took home the prize: Roberto Benigni's "La Vita e Bella" (Life Is Beautiful).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited a record 96 countries to submit candidates for the foreign-language film Oscar.

The five official nominees will be announced on Jan. 22, with the winner revealed during the 81st Annual Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 22.