The David di Donatello Awards, which are modeled on the Oscars, were established in the 1950s as Italy’s film industry started thriving amid the country’s postwar reconstruction effort.
Below are some milestones that provide a partial mini-history of postwar Italian cinema.
1956: The first David di Donatello awards ceremony takes place at Rome’s Cinema Fiamma. The gold statuette, which is a replica of Michelangelo’s David, is made by Bulgari. Vittorio De Sica, Walt Disney, and Gina Lollobrigida are among the year’s prizewinners.
1957: The Davids ceremony moves to Taormina’s Ancient Greek Theater, which will host the ceremony for many more years to come. Federico Fellini wins the best director prize for “Nights of Cabiria.”
1958: Anna Magnani wins best actress for George Cukor’s “Wild Is the Wind.” Marilyn Monroe is feted for her role in “The Prince and the Showgirl,” directed by Laurence Olivier.
1960: Fellini wins the top prize again, this time for “La Dolce Vita.” Elizabeth Taylor also gets a David that year.
1961: Michelangelo Antonioni scores best director for “La Notte.” Sophia Loren wins best actress for Vittorio de Sica’s “La Ciociara,” for which Loren also won an Oscar.
1962: Ermanno Olmi’s “Il Posto” wins best director. Marlene Dietrich wins a special David.
1969: Franco Zeffirelli’s still widely beloved “Romeo and Juliet” scores the top nod. Monica Vitti wins best actress for Mario Monicelli’s “The Girl With the Pistol.”
1971: Bernardo Bertolucci and Luchino Visconti share best picture honors, respectively for “The Conformist” and “The Garden of the Finzi Continis.” But Visconti also wins best director for “Death in Venice.”
1972: Elio Petri and Alberto Bevilaqua tie for best picture, respectively for “The Working Class Goes to Heaven,” which also won a prize in Cannes, and “Questa specie d’amore,” a romancer starring Ugo Tognazzi and Jean Seberg. Alain Delon (pictured with Monica Vitti) gets a special prize.
1976: Francesco Rosi’s political thriller “Excellent Cadavers” scores a double whammy, winning both best picture and best director prizes.
1983: Paolo and Vittorio Taviani win the top prize for World War II drama “The Night of the Shooting Stars.”
1988: Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Last Emperor” takes a home victory lap after sweeping the 1987 Oscars.
1992: Gianni Amelio’s “Stolen Children” takes both best director and best picture.
1994: Nanni Moretti’s semi-autobiographical “Caro Diario” scores best picture. Also wins best director in Cannes.
1998: Roberto Benigni’s “Life Is Beautiful” triumphs after scoring three Oscars.
2005: Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Consequences of Love” is the big winner.
2009: Matteo Garrone sweeps the Davids with “Gomorra.”
2016: Paolo Genovese’s concept movie “Perfect Strangers” involving a group friends and their cellphones wins best picture before going on to be remade in several languages.
2019: Garrone sweeps the Davids again with “Dogman.”