ROME – Paolo Virzi’s “Like Crazy,” a road movie about two women who escape from a mental institution in Tuscany, took top honors Monday night at Italy’s 61st David di Donatello Awards, the country’s equivalent of the Oscars. The film took home five statuettes, including prizes in the key categories of best picture, best director, and best actress, which went to Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.
The evening’s two other big winners were “Indivisible,” a neo-Gothic drama set in Naples and directed by Edoardo De Angelis, about teenage conjoined-twin sisters with beautiful voices, and Matteo Rovere’s “Italian Race,” set in the world of GT racing. “Indivisible” took five nods, including for best screenplay, producer, and supporting actress, and “Italian Race” won six statuettes, including best actor for Stefano Accorsi, cinematography, and editing.
Virzì’s “Like Crazy” launched last year from Cannes and sold widely internationally, with Strand Releasing picking it up for the U.S. His upcoming film, English-language drama “The Leisure Seeker,” toplining Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland as a runaway couple who embark on a twilight-years road trip from Boston to Florida, has been pre-bought by Sony Classics for North America.
A visibly moved Valeria Bruni Tedeschi thanked Italian modern psychiatry pioneer Franco Basaglia, who closed the country’s prison-like mental asylums, and my “poor psychoanalyst,” among others.
The nod for best first-time director went to Marco Danieli for “La ragazza del mondo,” about a romance between a girl who is a Jehovah’s Witness and a young ex-con.
Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals” took the David for foreign film from outside the European Union, while the nod for E.U. pic went to “I, Daniel Blake,” by Ken Loach.
This was the second edition of the Davids produced and aired by Murdoch-owned paybox Sky, rather than by pubcaster RAI, which had always handled the awards in the past. As with last year, the ceremony was emceed by local “X-Factor” host Alessandro Cattelan, and was a rather restrained but classy affair.
Sky is ramping up to become a key player in Italy’s film industry with the launch of a theatrical distribution arm named Vision Distribution in partnership with with producers Cattleya, Wildside, Lucisano Group, Palomar, and Indiana Production. Together, those producers account for about 40% of the domestic share of the Italian box office. The new distribution outfit, which is headed by former Warner Bros. Italy managing director Nicola Maccanico, will launch this summer.
Meanwhile, the domestic share of the Italian box office in the first quarter is down from 46% last year to 22% this year. Last year’s whopping 46% of the local market was largely due to smash comic hit “Quo Vado.”
Triple Oscar-winner Roberto Benigni was honored with a Special David earlier in the day by Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella and Culture Minister Dario Franceschini.
Here’s the complete list of David Awards winners:
“Like Crazy,” Paolo Virzì
Paolo Virzì, “Like Crazy”
Marco Danieli, “La ragazza del mondo”
Nicola Guaglianone, Barbara Petronio, Edoardo De Angelis for “Indivisible”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Gianfranco Cabiddu, Ugo Chiti, Salvatore De Mola for “La stoffa dei sogni”
Attilio De Razza, Pierpaolo Verga, “Indivisible”
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, “Like Crazy”
Stefano Accorsi, “Italian Race”
Antonia Truppo, “Indivisible”
Valerio Mastandrea, “Fiore”
Michele D’Attanasio, “Italian Race”
Gianni Vezzosi, “Italian Race”
“Crazy for football,” Volfango De Biase
Enzo Avitabile, “Indivisible”
“Abbi Pietà di Noi” by Enzo Avitabile, “Indivisible”
Tonino Zera “Like Crazy”
Massimo Cantini Parrini, “Indivisible”
Luca Mazzoccoli, “Italian Race”
Daniela Tartari, “Like Crazy”
Angelo Bonanni, Diego De Santis, Mirko Perri, Michele Mazzucco, “Italian Race”
Artea Film & Rain Rebel Alliance International Network, “Italian Race”
EUROPEAN UNION PICTURE
“I, Daniel Blake,” Ken Loach
FOREIGN FILM OUTSIDE THE E.U.
“Nocturnal Animals,” Tom Ford
“A casa mia,” Mario Piredda
“In War For Love,” Pierfrancesco Diliberto