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Italians that have won an Oscar

Overall, 15 Italian movies have received an Oscar: 11 in the Best Foreign Movie category, 3 with a Special Oscar assigned before this category was created, all won by Vittorio De Sica. Some seminal Italian directors, such as Mario Monicelli received six nominations, but never won. Neglected by the Academy have also been great Sergio Leone and Dino Risi.

The Oscars, however, are not only assigned to the best movies or the most talented directors and actors, but also to all those people who, with their talent and excellence in their field, contribute to make a film really successful. Here, we have put together the most important of all the Oscars (there are, in fact many more!) won by Italians throughout the decades: take a look!

Best Director

  • Frank Capra, for It happened One Night (1934), Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You can’t Take it with You (1938). Capra was an American citizen, but was born in Italy.
  • Bernardo Bertolucci, for The Last Emperor (1987).

Best Foreign Movie

  • La Strada (1957), by Federico Fellini
  • Le Notti di Cabiria (“The Nights of Cabiria,” 1958), by Federico Fellini
  • 8 1/2 (1963), by Federico Fellini
  • Ieri, Oggi e Domani (“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” 1965), by Vittorio De Sica
  • Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini (“The Garden of the Finzi-Contini,” 1970), by Vittorio De Sica
  • Indagine su un Cittadino al di Sopra di Ogni Sospetto (“Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion,” 1971), by Elio Petri
  • Amarcord (1974) by Federico Fellini
  • Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (“Cinema Paradiso,” 1989), by Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Mediterraneo (1998), by Gabriele Salvatores
  • La Vita è Bella (“Life is Beautiful,” 1999), by Roberto Benigni
  • La Grande Bellezza (“The Great Beauty,” 2014), by Paolo Sorrentino
Amarcord, Italian Oscar in 1974  (TalûAt/flickr flic.kr/p/aCdbz)

Honorary Awards

  • Sciuscià (“Shoeshine,” 1947), by Vittorio De Sica
  • Ladri di Biciclette (“The Bycicle Thieves,” 1949), by Vittorio De Sica
  • Le Mura di Malapaga (“The Walls of Malapaga,” 1950), by René Clément

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  • Roberto Benigni –  La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful, 1999)

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Anna Magnani – La Rosa Tatuata (The Rose Tattoo, 1955)
  • Sofia LorenLa Ciociara (Two Women, 1961)
Anna Magnani and Burt Lancaster, protagonists of The Rose Tattoo, for which Magnani won an Oscar
(Deborah Hustic/flickr – flic.kr/p/5zTco9)

Best Screenplay

  • Bernardo Bertolucci L’Ultimo Imperatore (The Last Emperor,1988)
  • Ennio De Concini, Alfredo Giannetti and Pietro GermiDivorzio all’ Italiana  (Divorce, Italian Style, 1963)

Best Special Effects 

Carlo RambaldiKing Kong (1976); Alien (1979); E.T. (1983).

Best Art Direction

  • Bruno Cesari, Osvaldo Desideri L’Ultimo Imperatore (The Last Emperor, 1988)
  • Elio Altamura, Gianni Quaranta Camera con Vista (A Room with a View, 1988)
  • Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo SchiavoL’Aviatore (2005); Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2008); Hugo (2012)

Best Cinematography

  • Pasqualino De Santis – Romeo e Giulietta (Romeo and Juliet, 1969)
  • Vittorio Storaro – Apocalypse Now (1980); Reds (1982); L’Ultimo Imperatore (The Last Emperor, 1988)
  •  Mauro Fiore – Avatar (2010)

Best Editing

  • Gabriella Cristiani L’ Ultimo Imperatore (The Last Emperor, 1988)
  • Pietro Scalia JFK (1992); Black Hawk Down  (2004)
A young Bertolucci (left) with Pierpaolo Pasolini, with whom he moved
his first steps in the world of cinema (Public Domain on wikimedia)

Best Music

  • Nino RotaIl Padrino, Parte Seconda (The Godfather Part II, 1974)
  • Giorgio Moroder –  Fuga di Mezzanotte (Midnight Express, 1978). Moroder also won Best Song for Flashdance’ s “What a Feeling”  (1983) and Top Gun‘s  “Take My Breath Away” (1986).
  • Nicola Piovani La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful, 1999)
  • Dario MarianelliAtonement ( 2007)
  • Ennio Morricone The Hateful Height (2016)

Best Costume Design

  • Piero GherardiLa Dolce Vita (1962);   8 ½ (1964)
  • Vittorino Nino NovareseCleopatra (1964); Cromwell  (1971)
  • Danilo Donati – Romeo e Giulietta (Romeo and Juliet, 1969); Il Casanova (1971)
  • Milena CanoneroBarry Lyndon (1975); Momenti di Gloria (Chariots of Fire,1981); Maria Antonietta (Marie Antoinette, 2006)
  • Franca SquarciapinoCyrano de Bergerac (1990)
  • Gabriella Pescucci L’ Età dell’ Innocenza (The Age of Innocence, 1993)

Honorary Oscars

  • In 1991 Sophia Loren was hailed by the Academy as “one of the genuine treasures of world cinema who, in a career rich with memorable performances, has added permanent luster to our art form.”
  • In 1993 Federico Fellini was given an honorary award “in recognition of his cinematic accomplishments that have thrilled and entertained worldwide audiences.”
  • Michelangelo Antonioni also received an honorary award in 1995, “in recognition of his place as one of the cinema’s master visual stylists.”
  • And we can’t forget Ennio Morricone‘s 2007 award “in recognition of his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.”
Sophia Loren won the Oscar for Italy twice, in 1962 and 1991 (Paul Hesse Studio on wikimedia)


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