'Gomorra' shifts date for Oscar hopes

Crime thriller will open in the U.S. in December

ROME -- Matteo Garrone's organized crime thriller "Gomorra" is moving its U.S. release date to December in order to make it eligible for Oscar consideration in categories other than best foreign-language film, the Italian press reported Wednesday.

The news comes on the heels of a statement from Martin Scorsese, who praised "Gomorra" as a "great" film after a festival screening in New York.

Italy has 13 best foreign film winners -- more than any other country -- but none in the past decade, since Roberto Benigni's "Life Is Beautiful" took home the prize. Benigni's film, which also won Oscars for best actor and musical score, is among a handful of modern Italian films to win Oscars outside of the foreign-language category.

"Gomorra" has had a strong year so far, winning the Grand Prix award in Cannes as well as worldwide distribution and critical acclaim.

The new plan is for the film to go into limited release in December, which would make it eligible for other Oscar categories. Observers here believe that the most likely is a nom for best screenplay adaptation. A wider release is scheduled for January.