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ROME – Marco Tulio Giordana’s Romanzo di una strage (Story of a Massacre) set the pace by garnering 16 nominations for David di Donatello prizes, Italy’s top film honors, followed closely by the latest from noted auteurs Nanni Moretti and Paolo Sorrentino.
Romanzo di una strage, which tells the story of Italy’s famous 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, was nominated in most of the main categories: best film, best director, best screenplay and best producer. Plus, protagonist Valerio Mastandrea was nominated for best actor.
The film, which was released only on March 30 in Italy and has not yet screened outside the country, has been mentioned in the Italian press as a likely in-competition selection in Cannes.
This is the third time one of Giordana’s films earned multiple Donatello nominations: I cento passi (One Hundred Steps) was nominated for three prizes in 2000 and won the award for best screenplay, and the epic coming of age drama Il Meglio del Goventu (The Best of Youth) won both the best film and best director awards three years later.
Honored nearly as much as Romanzo di una strage this year were Moretti’s comedic take on the papal conclave Habemus Papam (We Have A Pope) and Sorrentino’s This Must Be the Place, which starred Sean Penn as a jaded former rock star who seeks out to find his father’s former Nazi prosecutor.
Both films were nominated for the Palme d’Or in Cannes last year, and at the Donatellos earned 15 and 14 nominations, respectively, including in most of the main categories.
Of note: Michel Piccoli, a French national, is one of a small handful of non-Italians nominated in recent years for best actor in an Italian film at the Donatellos. He earned the nomination for his Italian-speaking portrayal as a reluctant cardinal elected pope in Habemus Papam.
Also nominated in the best film category was Berlin Golden Bear winning Cesare deve moriere (Ceaser Must Die), the story of a prison acting troupe preparing to perform William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar from the venerable Taviani brothers, Paolo and Vittorio. The Tavianis have won Donatellos four times before, dating back to 1977’s Padre padrone (Father and Master), a drama set in rural Sardinia, in which Moretti, interestingly, had a small role as Caesar.
The final nominee in the best picture race is Terraferma from Emmanuele Crialese, which details the plight of a Sicilian village dealing with the arrival of an unwelcome group of immigrants. The film originally screened in competition in Venice last year where it won three significant collateral prizes, including the jury award.
Giordana, Moretti, Sorrentino, the Taviani brothers and Crialese were all nominated for the best director honor, along with Ferzan Ozpetek, who earned the nomination for Magnifica Presenza (Magnificent Presense), a drama that just opened in Italy last month, where it has done well at the box office.
Romanzo di una strage, Habemus Papam, This Must be the Place and Cesare deve moriere were all nominated for best screenplay, along with Scialla! (Chill!), a comedy about the relationship between a rebellious teenager and his professor that was directed by Francesco Bruni.
Joining Piccoli and Mastandrea among the best actor nominees are Elio Germano from Magnifica presenza, Fabrizio Bentivoglio from Scialla! and Marco Giallini from Posti in piedi in paradiso (Standing Room in Heaven), where he plays one of three divorced fathers forced to room together.
The best actress nominees are Donatella Finocchiaro, with her fourth nomination, for her work in Terraferma, Micaela Ramazzoti from Posti in piedi in paradiso, Claudia Gerini for her role in drama Il mio domani (My Tomorrow), Valeria Golino from La kryptonite nella borsa (The Kryptonite in the Bag) and Chinese actress Zhao Tao, who plays a factory worker in immigration drama Io sono Li (Li and the Poet).
Among the non-Italian films, Roman Polanski’s Carnage, Melancholia from Lars Von Trier, Le Havre from Aki Kaurisami, Intouchables (The Untouchables) from Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano, and Michael Hazanavicius’ The Artist were all nominated for the prize for best European Union film.
And for best foreign film, the nominees were Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, Ides of March from George Clooney, The Tree of Life from Terrence Malick and Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation.
Winners will be announced May 4.
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