'Nuovomondo,' 'Familia' carry Oscar hopes

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Emanuele Crialese's "Nuovo-mondo" (The Golden Door), a period drama about a family of Sicilians seeking to immigrate to the U.S., has been selected as Italy's candidate in the best foreign-language nomination race for the 2006 Academy Awards, while Daniel Burman's "Derecho de Familia" (Family Law) will represent Argentina.

"Nuovomondo" was a success at the recent Venice International Film Festival, taking home the Silver Lion award as the festival's biggest revelation.

The critically acclaimed film ? which has grossed about $1 million after two weeks in general release in Italy ? was largely cast with Sicilian stage actors. But it does feature Charlotte Gainsbourg as Lucia, a British woman who sneaks on a ship bound to New York from Palermo.

Crialese is best known for his 2002 film "Respiro," which won the Critics Week prize and the Young Critics Award at the Festival de Cannes that year.

"Derecho de Familia" represents the second time Burman has carried the banner for Argentina at the Academy Awards. In 2004, his film "El Abrazo Partido" (Lost Embrace) was nominated.

Burman's films are largely autobiographical, dealing with the life of young Argentine Jews in contemporary Buenos Aires. His comedic stylings and examinations of everyday life have earned him comparisons to Woody Allen.

He also was a producer of 2004's "The Motorcycle Diaries."

Eric J. Lyman reported from Rome; Brian Byrnes reported from Buenos Aries.
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