|Sorrentino’s great beauty in running for Oscar (Photo/ANSA.IT )|
(ANSA) - Rome, September 25 - Paolo Sorrentino's 'La Grande Bellezza' (The Great Beauty), compared by some to the work of the great Federico Fellini, will be Italy's contender for the Academy Award for best foreign language film.
The movie about a culture critic immersed in the squalid world of Roman high society beat six other films to be Italy's candidate.
Sorrentino will know whether his picture has made the final Oscar ballot on January 16, when five nominees from around the world will be announced.
The 86th Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Sorrentino said he would do "everything" to boost the film's chances.
"I know it's a long and difficult road but we'll do all we can, with screenings, dinners and promotions," he said. "I didn't have any expectations or hopes. I'm happy and I'll do everything it takes to carry out this great adventure.
"To be quite honest, I don't expect anything, I prefer to start as a loser, so that anything that may come our way is a plus.
"In any case, one thing is certain: I won't be pulling back from the long promotion work," Sorrentino told ANSA on the phone.
'La Grande Bellezza', which was chosen by a commission at the Italian national cinema industry association's (ANICA) headquarters, was nominated for the Golden Palm at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Sorrentino won the jury prize there in 2008 with Il Divo, a portrait of controversial statesman Giulio Andreotti.
In 2011 the Neapolitan director's This Must Be The Place, with Sean Penn, snagged a lesser jury award.
In La Grande Bellezza, Rome's immortal yet increasingly tawdry glamour is seen through the eyes of an ageing writer played by acclaimed Italian actor Toni Servillo, a veteran of five Sorrentino films including Il Divo, where he played the 'Divine' Giulio. It is one of the most decorated films in Italy so far this year, having taken home five awards from Italy's Nastri d'Argento (Silver Ribbon) honors and the best cinematography prize at the Globi d'Oro, Italy's Golden Globes.
The Hollywood Reporter called the film "an amusing update on Italian society at the end of a cycle" that recalled the "magical atmosphere" of Fellini's 'Roma' and 'La Dolce Vita'.
The 43-year-old Sorrentino has emerged as one of Italy's most respected directors over the last dozen years, with five of his seven feature films screening in competition in Cannes. He has also personally won four David di Donatello honors and four Nastri d'Argento prizes. This is the first time one of his films has been selected as Italy's official Oscar candidate.
With 13 winning films, Italy has won more foreign language Oscars than any other country, and it trails behind only France with 27 nominations for the prize. Italy has not won the award since Roberto Benigni's 'La vita e' Bella' (Life Is Beautiful) 15 years ago.
The last Italian nomination was in 2005 with 'La bestia nel cuore' (Don't Tell), directed by Cristina Comencini.