Italy is a country that historically has given a lot to the art of filmmaking and Americans have always been fascinated by "Cinema Italiano", finding it inspiring and its craftsmanship unique. Of course, the Academy has also been very receptive to the films produced by Italy and indeed, as of 2011, Italy is the country that has won more Oscars for best foreign film than any other, a total of 10 Academy awards for best picture and 3 honorary awards.
Let's see in detail which films, their directors and the year they won:
The three honorary awards went to "Shoeshine" (Sciuscia') in 1947, "The Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) in 1949, both directed by Vittorio De Sica, and "The Walls of Malapaga" (Le mura di Malapaga) in 1950, directed by René Clément.
The other awards were as follows:
In 1956 Italy won with "La Strada", in 1957 with "Nights of Cabiria" (Le Notti di Cabiria) and in 1963 with " 8 1/2", all directed by Federico Fellini. In 1964, Vittorio De Sica won again with "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" (Ieri, Oggi e Domani). "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion" (Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto), directed by Elio Petri won in 1970 and the following year, in 1971, De Sica did it again with "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini). In 1974 Federico Fellini broke the record of 4 Oscars with "Amarcord", becoming the world's record holder in number of Oscar won. Many consider De Sica's honorary awards Oscars, and giving him a total of 4 awards aswell.
15 years went by, until, in 1989, Giuseppe Tornatore touched the world with "Cinema Paradiso" (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso), matched by his Sicilian mate Gabriele Salvatores in 1998 with "Mediterraneo".
The last but not least in the list of Academy awards won is "Life Is Beautiful" (La vita e' bella) by and with Roberto Benigni, who also brought home the Oscar for best actor.
And now, we all await the release of the next Oscar-winner.