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Italian Films That Won Academy Awards
Let's take a look at these films, their directors and the years in which they won:
1947 Shoeshine (Sciuscia) and 1949 The Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di Biciclette) both directed by Vittorio De Sica, and 1950 The Walls of Malapaga (Le Mura di Malapaga), by Rene' Clement, all won honorary awards.
As for the others, it went as follows:
In 1956 Italy won with La Strada, in 1957 with Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria) and in 1963 with the legendary 8 1/2, all directed by the iconic 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, 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 four Oscars with Amarcord--as a matter of fact, he still holds it. Many consider De Sica's honorary awards as regular Oscars, which would also give him four awards.
After that, fifteen years went by until Italy received another trophy, this time in 1989 for Giuseppe Tornatore's now classic Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso), a movie that touched the world. Gabriele Salvatore's Mediterraneo took home the award in 1998.
Last, but definitely not least, on the list is Life Is Beautiful (La vita e' bella), which starred and was directed by Roberto Benigni. The heartfelt movie set in Nazi Germany also saw Benigni take home the Oscar for Best Actor. The Italian's acceptance speech--during which he walked on the theater seats and kissed Sophia Loren--is still considered to this day as one of the liveliest in Academy history. It is just one more example of how Italian passion and talent have captivated Hollywood.