Telecast cut short by Iraq news report

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ROME — In a rare coup for a six-hour movie originally made for TV, “Best of Youth,” Marco Tullio Giordana’s epic about Italy’s 1960s generation, took the lion’s share of statuettes at the 48th David di Donatello Awards, the Italian industry’s top film honors.

In another rare occurrence, the live telecast of the revamped gala event was cut short by a news report announcing the alleged killing of an Italian civilian kidnapped and held hostage in Iraq.

Notching up more nods after scooping last year’s Un Certain Regard prize in Cannes, and sweeping Italy’s Silver Ribbon prizes earlier this month, “Best” scored Davids for best picture, director, screenplay, producer, editor and sound.

Winning pic, for which Miramax has U.S. and U.K. rights, screened in Italy last summer in two separate three-hour installments.

Produced by Angelo Barbagallo for RAI, “Best” weaves social history and human drama, tracing the parallel lives of two brothers affected by political turmoil, which in Italy culminated in the terrorism-plagued “years of lead.”

Another top Davids contender, “Don’t Move” took both acting prizes — for Penelope Cruz and Sergio Castellito, who also directed the pic.

“This is a very happy moment for me, but my biggest dream is a world without war, violence and hate,” Cruz said shortly after the awards ceremony telecast on RAI had been interrupted to air a news flash from Baghdad.

Following Cruz’s acceptance speech RAI pulled the ceremony off-air and replaced it with a news special on the Iraq hostage crisis.

Nothing happened to us

Youth comedy “Che Ne Sara di Noi” (What Will Happen to Us), which had been the surprise front-runner racking up 12 noms, went home empty-handed.

The debuting director prize went to Salvatore Mereu’s “Three-Step Dance,” a four-part tone poem set in Sardinia that won a special mention for first film in Venice last year.

Foreign film winner was Denys Arcand’s Oscar winner “The Barbarian Invasions.”

Career awards were given to 84-year-old producer Goffredo Lombardo, whose credits include the Luchino Visconti classics “Rocco and His Brothers” and “The Leopard,” and Peter Falk, who was on hand and thanked Italians for their ongoing love affair with “Columbo.”

Steven Spielberg, who was on hand to pick up a Special David he won last year, was also honored earlier in the day by Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi with a Grand Cross medal given to prominent world personalities. Spielberg was introduced by Roberto Benigni as “one of the greatest dreamers of all times.”

Besides the top ranks of the Italian industry, the primetime ceremony was also attended by French stars Anouk Aimee, Emmanuelle Beart and German helmer Margarethe Von Trotta whose “Rosenstrasse” tied with Lars von Trier’s “Dogville” as best European pic.

And the winners are…

PICTURE
“Best of Youth,” Marco Tullio Giordana

DIRECTOR
Marco Tullio Giordana, “Best of Youth”

DEBUTING DIRECTOR
Salvatore Mereu, “Three-step Dance”

SCREENPLAY
Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, “Best of Youth”

PRODUCER
Angelo Barbagallo, “Best of Youth”

ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, “Don’t Move”

ACTOR
Sergio Castellitto, “Don’t Move”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Margherita Buy, “Caterina Goes to Town”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Roberto Herlitzka, “Good Morning, Night”

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Italo Petriccone, “I’m Not Afraid”

ORIGNAL MUSIC
Banda Osiris, “First Love”

SET DESIGN
Luigi Marchione, “Singing Behind the Screens”

COSTUME DESIGN
Francesca Sartori, “Singing Behind the Screens”

EDITING
Roberto Missiroli, “Best of Youth”

SOUND
Fulgenzio Ceccon, “Best of Youth”

SPECIAL EFFECTS
Ubik Visual Effects-Boss Film, “Singing Behind the Screens”

SHORT FILM (TIE)
“Sole,” Michele Carrillo
“Zinana,” Pippo Mezzapesca

DOCUMENTARY
“War,” Pippo Delbono

FOREIGN FILM
“The Barbarian Invasions,” Denys Arcand

EUROPEAN FILM (TIE)
“Rosenstrasse,” Margarethe Von Trotta
“Dogville,” Lars von Trier

EUROPEAN ACTRESS
Emmanuelle Beart, “A Heart in Winter”

CAREER DAVIDS
Peter Falk and Goffredo Lombardo

YOUTH DAVID
“I’m Not Afraid,” Gabriele Salvatores

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