ROME — Actor-director Roberto Benigni leads the field in the 42nd David di Donatello awards — Italy’s top movie nods — landing 12 nominations for “Life Is Beautiful,” his tragicomedy about the love and sacrifices of a father for his infant son in a World War II concentration camp.
Including Benigni’s film, which has its international premiere in competition at Cannes this month, all four of Italy’s official selections for the French fest fared well in the nominations, which were announced Saturday in Rome.
Receiving four nominations each were Nanni Moretti’s “Aprile,” which also screens in competition; Mario Martone’s “Rehearsal for War,” screening in Un Certain Regard; and Mimmo Calopresti’s “The Word Love Exists,” which was chosen to open this year’s Directors Fortnight.
A $36 million-grossing national hit that already has swept the Italian critics’ awards and will be released later this year by Miarmax in the U.S., “Life Is Beautiful” earned Benigni nominations for best film, director, actor and screenplay, co-written with Vincenzo Cerami.
In addition to nods for best cinematography, music, art direction, costume design, editing and sound, Elda Ferri and Gianluigi Braschi were nominated as best producers for the pic, and Sergio Bustric made the supporting actor shortlist.
“Aprile,” Moretti’s intimate examination of politics and paternity, was nominated for best film, actor (Moretti), supporting actor (Silvio Orlando) and sound.
A best director nod went to Martone for his dramatic reflection on the nature of war, which also is in the running for best actress (Anna Bonaiuto), cinematography and editing. Calopresti’s romantic drama scored nominations for best screenplay, actress (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), supporting actress (Marina Confalone) and music.
Other top contenders include Paolo Virzi’s coming-of-age comedy “Ovosodo,” which was nominated in six categories including best film, director, screenplay and supporting actress (Nicoletta Braschi); and Roberta Torre’s comic Mafia musical “Tano da morire,” with three nominations including best debuting director.
Foreign film nominees are Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” Peter Cattaneo’s “The Full Monty” and Russian director Pavel Chukhrai’s “The Thief.”
The Donatello awards are voted by a jury of Italian entertainment industry representatives and will be presented at a July 5 ceremony in Rome.