Top Italian directors behind David noms

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ROME -- Two of Italy's best-known directors and three up-and-coming talents are behind the best film nominees at this year's 2007 David di Donatello awards, organizers announced Tuesday.

In most previous years, one or two films have dominated the nominations for the David awards, Italy's top film honors. But this year's slate spreads the wealth between nearly a dozen productions nominated in more than one major category.

Among the leading lights are Ermanno Olmi's "Centochiodi," which garnered the director his seventh David nomination in the best film category. The film is reported to be Olmi's last narrative film. Giuseppe Tornatore's "La Sconosciuta" (The Unknown) also was nominated for the top honor.

The films from emerging talents in the centerpiece competition are Emanuele Crialese's "Nuovomondo" (The Golden Door), which won a special jury prize at last year's Venice film festival; 2006 Cannes C.I.C.A.E. award winner "Anche Libero va Bene" (Along the Ridge) from Kim Rossi Stuart; and Daniele Luchetti's local boxoffice smash "Mio Fratello e Figlio Unico" (My Brother is an Only Child).

Aside from Rossi Stuart, the same group of directors was nominated in the best director category. Five-time Palme d'Or nominee Marco Bellocchio rounds out that category for his drama "Il Regista di Matrimoni" (The Wedding Director), which premiered last year in Cannes.

Best actor nominees include Rossi Stuart; Giacomo Rizzo, who played a small-time loan shark in Paolo Sorrentino's "L'Amico di Famiglia" (Friend of the Family); actor-director Michele Placido for his protagonist role in "La Sconosciuta"; Vincenzo Amato for his part played in Sicilian dialect in "Nuovomondo"; and Elio Germano for "Mio Fratello e Figlio Unico."

"La Sconosciuta" star Ksenia Rappoport joins a best actress field that includes Margherita Buy from "Saturno Contro" (Against Saturn); Angela Finocchiaro, the bride in Bellocchio's "Il Regista di Matrimoni"; Giovanna Mezzogiorno from "Lezioni di Volo" (Flying Lessons); and "Liscio" headliner Laura Morante.

In an unusual development, Italian director Gabriele Muccino was nominated in the best foreign film category, for the Will Smith film "Pursuit of Happiness." Other nominees are Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu for "Babel," "The Departed" from Martin Scorsese, "Letters from Iwo Jima" from Clint Eastwood and "Little Miss Sunshine" from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.

The awards will be presented June 14 in Rome.
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