Marrakech Fest: Paolo Sorrentino Reacts to European Film Awards Wins

Paolo Sorrentino

The director missed the awards ceremony in Berlin but toasted his honors for "The Great Beauty" with Martin Scorsese when he heard the news.

MARRAKECH, Morocco – Paolo Sorrentino was 1,800 miles away in Morocco when his three European Film Award wins for The Great Beauty were announced Saturday in Berlin.

The Great Beauty took home the best film, best director and best actor prizes at the film awards, but Sorrentino was absent. He had been in Morocco for the past week serving as a main competition juror at the Marrakech International Film Festival, and he had just handed out the best director trophy in the festival’s closing night when his own wins occurred.

EARLIER: 'The Great Beauty' Takes Top Prize at European Film Awards

“We were at the dinner after the ceremony with all the jury members, and my wife called me to tell me it had won best actor. Then the martinis arrived and she called me and said you also have best movie!” Sorrentino told The Hollywood Reporter at the closing-night party in an ancient villa on the outskirts of town here.

“So I told everyone and they gave a cheers and a long clap and I said thanks, so it was very fun and very nice,” he said. “I am sorry to not be in Berlin with my friends, but I am happy to be in Marrakech. I was with Martin Scorsese when I received the news and we did a toast, so it’s an unbelievable thing.”

Sorrentino said that he didn’t expect to win. Like many others, he had expected Cannes’ Palme d’Or winner, Blue Is the Warmest Color, to dominate the awards.

“I didn’t expect it because the competition was very tough and I was pretty sure that [Blue Is the Warmest Color director Abdellatif] Kechiche would win everything. But it didn’t happen, so I am very happy,” he said.

He said he thought the win would send a strong message to his compatriots in Italian cinema. “I think it’s a good thing for Italian cinema. I think my movie, you can like it or dislike it, but it’s a brave movie. I think this [win] is a suggestion to Italian producers and Italian filmmakers to be brave. Because when you are brave in language and in movies, you can fail, but if you do a good movie you can have a huge success.”