'The Great Beauty,' 'The Human Capital' Dominate Italy's Donatello Awards Nominations

2:12 AM PST 05/14/2014 by Eric J. Lyman

'"12 Years a Slave," "American Hustle" and "Blue Jasmine" are among the nominees for best non-European film.

ROME – Paolo Virzi’s The Human Capital (Il capital umano) led the way with 19 nominations for Italy’s David di Donatello awards, one more than the 18 nominations for The Great Beauty (la grande bellezza), the Oscar foreign-language winner from Paolo Sorrentino.

Along with the Nastri d’Argento (Silver Ribbons) awards and Italy’s version of the Golden Globes, the Donatello awards are one of Italy’s top film honors.

Virzi, former artistic director of the Turin Film Festival, is best known internationally for The First Beautiful Thing (La prima cosa bella), which won three Donatello prizes, four Nastri d’Argento honors, and was short-listed to be Italy’s candidate for the Oscars four years ago. Virzi, 50, returns to the spotlight this time around with a drama about how a roadside accident on Christmas eve impacts the fate of two families.

Sorrentino, meanwhile, burst onto the international scene earlier this year when The Great Beauty won Italy’s first foreign-language film Oscar in 15 years. The film also won a slew of other awards, including a Golden Globe. It also won the best film honor at the European Film Awards, took home four Nastri d’Argento prizes and was honored by the Cannes Film Festival, France’s Cesar Awards, Italy’s version of the Golden Globes and the Capri, Hollywood Film Festival, which named it 2013’s film of the year. But with a May release date, the film hit cinemas too late to be eligible for last year’s Donatello honors.

Joining The Human Capital and The Great Beauty among the nominees for Best Film are Pierfrancesco Diliberto’s romantic crime drama The Mafia Only Kills in Summer (La mafia uccide solo d’estate); the just-released The Chair of Happiness (not its official English-language title) (La sedia della felicita) from Carlo Mazzacurati; and  Sydney Sibilia’s I Can Quit Anytime I Want (not its official English-language title) (Smetto quando voglio).

Virzi, Sorrentino and Mazzacurati were all nominated for the best director award along with Ferzan Ozpetek for his work on Fasten Your Seatbelts (not its official English-language title) (Allacciante le cincture) and How Strange to Call You Federico: Scola Talks About Fellini (Che strano chiamarsi Federico: Scola racconta Fellini), the Federico Fellini homage from decorated Italian auteur Ettore Scola.

Diliberto and Sibila were among the five directors nominated for the award for Best Emerging Director, a group that also includes Rainman actress Valeria Golino for her work on Miele, Fabio Grassandonia and Antonio Piazza for Salvo, and Matteo Oleotto for Zoran My Idiot Nephew (Zoran, il mio nipote scemo).

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, winner of the 2014 best picture Oscar, was among the nominees for the Donatello prize for best non-European film, along with fellow Oscar best picture nominees American Hustle from David O. Russell and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and The Grand Budapest Hotel from Wes Anderson round out the nominees.

Another Oscar best picture nominee, Stephen FrearsPhilomena, was among the nominees for best non-Italian European film, joined  by Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur.

The winners will be announced June 10.

Twitter: @EricJLyman

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