Oscars: Italy Unveils Shortlist for Foreign-Language Category

Francesca Casciarri
'Black Souls'

Films exploring Italy's family structure top the list

All eyes are on Italy this awards season after Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty earlier this year won the country’s first foreign-language Oscar since 1998’s Life Is Beautiful.

The country has unveiled a shortlist of seven films, one of which will be picked next week to represent the country in the Academy Awards' best foreign-language film race.

Paolo Virzi’s Human Capital leads the pack among Italian film awards thus far. It took home seven wins at the David di Donatello awards this year, beating out The Great Beauty for best film. It also won six honors, out of eight nominations, at the Nastri d’Argento Awards. The neo-noir family drama, based on the book by Stephen Amidon, was also a box-office hit in Italy.

Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders could be a surprise pick for the nomination. The director’s sophomore film is a family portrait of a forgotten era in Tuscany that took home the Grand Prix at Cannes this year. Rohrwacher is a rising star among Italy’s generation of young directors.

Another favorite among critics this year is Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls, which was hailed as a local masterpiece after premiering in Venice. The dark story looks deep inside the family psyche of three brothers in Calabria and has redefined the mafia genre.

Other contenders for the Oscars include Ferzan Ozpetek’s Fasten Your Seatbelts, Edoardo Winspeare’s Quiet Bliss, the Manetti Bros.’ Song’e Napule and Carlo Verdone’s Sotto una Buona Stella.

Italy remains the country with the most foreign-language Oscar wins, with 11 along with three special awards. Federico Fellini holds the record for most singles wins with four foreign-language Oscars.

The selection committee will meet on Wednesday, Sept. 24, to choose the final Oscar nominee from the seven films.

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