The Italian Almanac

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the great beauty

The Great Beauty

Italian director Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) was among the films nominated for the best foreign film Academy Award, just three days after winning the best foreign film award at the Golden Globes. Italians are now hoping the movie will give the country its first Oscar since Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful 15 years ago.

"I'm in a daze," Sorrentino said in Los Angeles. "I still don't realize what's going on. But I'm happy about it. I was hoping for it and counting on it, but you can't ever take anything for granted in this town. "This is all thanks to everyone (who worked on the film)".

The Great Beauty is about the squalid world of Roman high society as seen through the eyes of a culture critic played by acclaimed Italian actor Toni Servillo, a veteran of five Sorrentino movies. It is one of the most decorated films in Italy so far this season, having taken home five awards from Italy's Nastri d'Argento (Silver Ribbon) honors and the best cinematography prize at the Globi d'Oro, Italy's Golden Globes, as well as this week's Golden Globe - the first won by an Italian film since Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso in 1989.

The Hollywood Reporter called the film "an amusing update on Italian society at the end of a cycle" that recalled the "magical atmosphere" of cinematic icon Federico's Fellini's 'Roma' and 'La Dolce Vita'.

The 43-year-old Sorrentino has emerged as one of Italy's most respected directors over the last dozen years, with five of his seven feature films screening in competition in Cannes.