Italy won its 11th Oscar in the category of best foreign-language film at the 86th Academy Awards with "The Great Beauty" (La Grande Bellezza), directed by Paolo Sorrentino, starring Toni Servillo.
Sorrentino walked up to the stage, where he was joined by Servillo, and kept his acceptance speech short, thanking the Academy, all the actors on the movie, as well as his “sources of inspiration: Federico Fellini, Talking Heads, Martin Scorsese and Diego Armando Maradona.” He also thanked “Roma and Napoli” (Sorrentino is originally from Naples), and finally “my personal great beauty, Daniela, Anna and Carlo,” his wife and children. He dedicated the Oscar to his parents.
“The Great Beauty” follows an aging socialite, Jep Gambardella, who wrote a famous novel in his twenties, and then retired into a comfortable life writing cultural columns and throwing parties in Rome. After his 65th lavish birthday party, at his apartment overlooking the Coliseum, he walks through the ruins and streets of Rome, encountering various characters, reflecting on his life, his first love, and sense of unfulfillment.
Italy can be proud of its standing in Oscars history, having won 76 awards in different categories out of 86 editions of the Academy Awards. The last time it won for best foreign film was 1999 with "La vita è bella." Three additional special Oscars went to films from Italy before the establishment of foreign language film as a regular category in 1956.
Watch Sorrentino's acceptance speech: