Italy's Oscar Winning Talent

Italy's Oscar Winning Talent

The following list is a tribute to four Italian-born influencers who loom large over the course of Italian film, and Oscar, history.

In 2014, Paolo Sorrentino’s film, The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)won Italy’s first Oscar in 15 years, since Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful (La vita e’ bella)took home three Academy awards. Credited with reviving Italy's flagging cinema industry the film follows Jep Gambardella, a once-promising novelist who has become an established fixture of the high society set. As he turns 65 years and is at an emotional crossroads, Jep (Toni Servillo) looks back on his kaleidoscopic and glamorous life and wonders of its significance.

Veteran costume designer Milena Canonero has taken home no less than four Oscars and has been nominated nine times for Best Costume Design, winning her first Oscar in 1975; and most recently for The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2015. The costume designer, born in Turin in 1952, recently earned the 2015°Costume Designers Guild Award, a prize that every year recognises the best costume designers for film and television. Her home country recently honoured her with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles.

In January 2016 famed Italian composer Ennio Morricone, known as the “Mozart of film music“ won his first Oscar for Best Original Score for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight

At 87 years he is officially the world’s oldest Oscar winner and is one of only a few composers to have been awarded an honorary Oscar for his lifetime contribution in 2007. Morricone has composed over 500 scores for cinema, most notably the classic 1960's Italian westerns including The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. The prolific composer has also won nine David di Donatello awards, Italy's highest film honours.

Recognised as one of the most influential directors of all time Federico Fellini (pictured) was an Italian film director and screenwriter who won five Academy Awards throughout his career and holds the record for most Oscars for Best Foreign Film in the history of the Academy.

Though it has been over twenty years since his death in 1993, Fellini's influence remains pervasive as ever and his influence on directors as diverse as Stanley Kubrick and Woody Allen remains unparalleled by any other Italian director. His cinematic staples include Vitelloni (1953), La Strada(1954) and Nights of Cabiria (1957).


Image by Walter Albertin, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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