Italian director Federico Fellini graciously accepted a special lifetime achievement Oscar while his wife sobbed uncontrollably in the audience.

Fellini walked onstage last night to a trumpet fanfare and a standing ovation after testimonials from fellow Italians Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.

“Can I give you a kiss?” asked Loren.

“Yes, I want to,” Fellini responded, eliciting a chuckle from the crowd. “I really did not expect this, or perhaps I did. But wait, not before another 25 years.”

“I come from a country, and I belong to a generation, from which America and movies are the same thing,” Fellini continued. “And now, to be here with you, my dear Americans, makes me feel at home. I want to thank all of you who make me feel this way.

Generous thanks

“In these circumstances, it’s easy to be generous and thank everybody. I would like to thank all the people who have worked with me. I cannot nominate everyone. Let me make only one name of an actress who is also my wife: Thank you , Giulietta Masina, and please stop crying.”

Fellini’s films include “8 1/2,””La Dolce Vita,””City of Women,””Roma,””The Clowns,””La Strada,””Amarcord” and “Nights of Cabiria.”

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