'Nuovomondo' a gem again

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Emanuele Crialese's "Nuovomondo" was awarded the Diamanti al Cinema (Cinema Diamonds) for best film late Sunday at the Venice Film Festival, giving it the rare distinction of being honored in consecutive years at the fest.

The Diamanti al Cinema awards are voted on by moviegoers at more than 500 cinemas across Italy. More than 25,000 votes were collected this year, for which any film released for the 12-month period ending in March was eligible.

The honor for "Nuovomondo" came a year after it premiered in Venice and took home a special jury prize. Crialese, meanwhile, is back in Venice this year as a member of the main jury.

The most decorated film among the winners was Ferzan Ozpetek's "Saturno contro" (Saturn in Opposition). Ozpetek won the award for best director, and the film took home all the major acting awards: for best actor (Pierfrancesco Favino), actress (Margherita Buy), supporting actor (Luca Argentero) and supporting actress (Ambra Angiolini).

Angiolini hosted the opening evening at Venice this year.

Medusa was honored as Italy's best production house, and Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone was given a special prize as person of the year.

Surprisingly, Giuseppe Tornatore's "La sconosciuta" (The Unknown Woman), the most nominated among the Diamanti al Cinema group, went home without a victory. Still, it was a strong year for the film, which has won multiple awards in recent months, dominating the David di Donatello awards in June and becoming the only film to receive three nominations for the new Cinecitta awards for behind-the-scenes excellence. Tornatore also was the toast of the recent TaorminaFilmFest, where he received an achievement award and was the subject of a comprehensive retrospective.

The prizes were announced during a gala black-tie dinner at the Des Bains Hotel in Venice.
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