Just a handful of foreign performers have actually won a Golden Globe or Oscar over the past half century.
In 1961, Italy’s Sophia Loren became the first thesp to win an Oscar in a foreign-language role for her powerful perf as a widowed refugee struggling to protect her young daughter from the horrors of war in Vittorio De Sica’s “Two Women.”
Loren had originally been hired to play the daughter alongside compatriot Anna Magnani until the latter pulled out, saying the onscreen chemistry would not work.
Magnani had won the 1955 actress Oscar for her English-language role in a bigscreen adaptation of Tennessee William’s “The Rose Tattoo.”
Few other foreign thesps have clinched an Oscar for an English-language role.
Luise Rainer, who fled anti-Semitism in her native Germany in the 1930s, became the first performer to win Oscars back to back in 1936 and 1937 for her perfs in “The Great Ziegfeld” and “The Good Earth.” French actress Simone Signoret won an actress trophy in 1959 for her perf in “Room at the Top.”
Loren remained the only thesp to have won for a foreign-language role for 38 years until Italian Roberto Benigni clinched the award for his perf in 1998’s “Life Is Beautiful.” Foreign thesps have grabbed noms, however: Marcello Mastroianni, Liv Ullmann, Isabelle Adjani, Gerard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve and Massimo Troisi are among those who have been chosen but who have not won.