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‘Scared’ and ‘Soldados’ are bound for Oscar race

Salvatores' drama tapped to rep Italy

Gabriele Salvatores’ “I’m Not Scared” and David Trueba’s “Soldados de salamina” (Salamina Soldiers) have been chosen as candidates for 2004 foreign-lingo Oscar consideration in Italy and Spain, respectively.

“I’m Not Scared,” about a Sicilian boy who discovers his parents’ involvement in a child abduction case, has grossed roughly $5 million in Italy, where it won this year’s Silver Ribbon from the country’s film journalists.

Co-produced by Maurizio Totti’s Colorado Film and Riccardo Tozzi’s Cattleya and financed by Medusa, pic did not compete for the David awards, the country’s top film prizes, as it was released too late in the year.

Miramax will release “I’m Not Scared” in the U.S. before January. Pic has sold in 32 territories.

Salvatores won the 1992 foreign-language Academy Award for “Mediterraneo,” which Miramax also released Stateside.

Protest erupts

This year’s Oscar selection was marred by controversy after director Pupi Avati last week pulled his drama “A Heart Elsewhere” from the race in protest against the Ente Davide di Donatello, which handles the voting. Many industryites are up in arms after they discovered the body added 112 new jurors in July. These voters, which now total 480, also pick Davide winners.

The Spanish Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences chose Spanish Civil War drama “Soldiers,” based on a bestseller by Javier Cercas, over two other finalists — Fernando Colomo’s “Al sur de Granada” (South From Granada) and Antonio Gimenez-Rico’s “Hotel Danubio.”

Produced by Andres Vicente Gomez’s Lolafilms and Fernando Trueba P.C., “Soldiers” has grossed e1.6 million ($1.8 million) at the Spanish box office since a March 21 bow.

Selections of “I’m Not Scared” and “Soldiers” were both announced Wednesday, the last day for pics to be submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. It will announce its nominees for the category on Jan. 27. The Oscars will take place Feb. 29.

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