Italy expands Oscar jury

Ends years of grumbling in the industry

ROME — Following years of industry sniping about the selection of Italy’s candidate for the best foreign-language film Academy Award, national producers association ANICA will hand the task over to a much wider jury starting this year.

The change was announced Saturday in Rome by ANICA president Fulvio Lucisano during the unveiling of nominations for Italy’s top film awards, the David di Donatellos, whose voters now will also assume responsibility for the Oscar selection.

Authoritative selection

“This decision was reached in agreement with the Academy to guarantee a more authoritative selection, and to avoid the kind of controversy that has arisen in recent years,” Lucisano said. “I firmly believe we have made the right choice in turning to the David di Donatello jury, which brings us closer to the selection mechanism used by the Academy.”

Dissatisfaction reached a peak last November, when many industryites vocally disagreed with the choice of Pupi Avati’s “The Best Man” to represent Italy in the Oscar race. National critics at the time had not seen the film, which had not had a qualifying commercial release but had been screened by producers for one day only during the period of eligibility in a single theater outside Rome.

Industry reps

Until now, the Oscar candidate has been voted by an ANICA-appointed commission made up of 8-10 industry representatives.

The Donatello jury and the awards’ administrative council together comprise close to 100 members from all areas of the film and entertainment industries as well as other arts and cultural sectors, bringing a wider breadth of opinion into the selection process.