Sorrentino’s “La Grande Bellezza” nominated for 2014 Oscars

La Grande Bellezza is the first Italian film in 8 years nominated for an Oscar

 ROME - Paolo Sorrentino’s “La Grande Bellezza” has been announced as part of the 2014 Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. Only a week before the nominations the movie had won Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes, beating renowned Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises.”

 In his acceptance speech, the Italian director expressed his gratitude and added, “Thank you to Italy that's a crazy country but beautiful.” He also told La Repubblica, a major Italian newspaper, that nobody had told him anything so he was very touched and surprised by the award. After the ceremony at some private events Sorrentino was complimented for his success by Martin Scorsese who, according to a reliable media source, saw the film and was enthusiastic.

 The Ministry of Goods, Cultural Activity and Tourism, Massimo Bray and Roman Mayor Ignazio Marino are just a few of many in Italy to congratulate the Neapolitan director for his achievement. Indeed, his triumph was also highlighted in the United States with The New York Times defining it as “a metaphor of the Italian Decline.”

 Just being nominated touched the public as it was the first nominee for an Italian film after 8 years when Cristina Comencini’s “La Bestia nel Cuore” was nominated but didn't win. The last Oscar won by an Italian film was Roberto Benigni’s renowned “La Vita è Bella” which won 15 years ago.

 “La Grande Bellezza” is competing for an Oscar in “Best Foreign Language Film” against Belgian director Felix Groeningen’s “The Broken Circle,” Cambodia’s “The Missing Picture” by Rithy Panh, Denmark’s “The Hunt” by Thomas Vinterburg, and Palestinian Hany Abu - Assad’s “Omar.” Sorrentino said, “The US and the Academy have understood that the film and its gaze of comprehension and tenderness regarding human misery, not only Italian, rather part of everybody.” The Director emphasizes his gratitude stating that just being in the list, especially after years in which no Italian film had  make it, is an achievement to be grateful for.

 Although many Italians complimented Sorrentino on his achievement, criticism arrived from the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Montecitorio, which stated that “‘La Grande Bellezza’ disgraces Italy in foreign countries.” The director responded by highlighting that he is not a travel agency, and that he did not “point my finger at human weaknesses, rather I have a gaze of absolute comprehension.”

 Criticism does not diminish the enthusiasm that surrounds the film and its initial success, and there is hope that the victory might be greater at the Oscar Ceremony scheduled for March 2nd. A victory that might alleviate, at least for an instant, the burden the economic crisis has placed on Italians by proving that Italy is worth the attention.