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Actors Brad Pitt (left) and Angelina Jolie attend the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, in Hollywood, California. (AFP)
‘Slave’ rises up at the Oscars ‘Gravity’ triumphs as top award-winner

LOS ANGELES, March 3, (AP): Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards. Steve McQueen’s slavery odyssey, based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, has been hailed as a landmark corrective to the movie industry’s virtual blindness to slavery, instead creating whiter tales like 1940 best-picture winner “Gone With the Wind.” ‘’12 Years a Slave” is the first best-picture winner directed by a black filmmaker. “Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” said McQueen, who dedicated the honor to those, past and present, who have endured slavery. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup.”

The normally reserved McQueen promptly bounced up and down on stage, later matter-of-factly explaining his joy physically took over: “So, Van Halen. Jump.” A year after celebrating Ben Affleck’s “Argo” over Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences opted for stark realism over more the plainly entertaining candidates: the 3-D space marvel “Gravity” and the starry 1970s caper “American Hustle.”

Those two films came in as the leading nominee getters. David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” went home empty-handed, but “Gravity” triumphed as the night’s top award-winner. Cleaning up in technical categories like cinematography and visual effects, it earned seven Oscars including best director for Alfonso Cuaron. The Mexican filmmaker is the category’s first Latino winner. “It was a transformative experience,” said Cuaron, who spent some five years making the film and developing its visual effects. “For a lot of people, that transformation was wisdom. For me, it was the color of my hair.” To his star Sandra Bullock, the sole person on screen for much of the lost-in-space drama, he said: “Sandra, you are ‘Gravity.’”
But history belonged to “12 Years a Slave,” a modestly budgeted drama produced by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, that has made $50 million worldwide — a far cry from the more than $700 million “Gravity” has hauled in. Ellen DeGeneres, in a nimble second stint as host that seemed designed as an antidote to the crude humor of Seth MacFarlane last year, summarized the academy’s options in her opening monologue: “Possibility number one: ‘12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists.”
DeGeneres presided over a smooth if safe ceremony, punctuated by politics, pizza and photo-bombing. Freely circulating in the crowd, she had pizza delivered, appealing to Harvey Weinstein to pitch in, and gathered stars to snap a selfie she hoped would be a record-setter on Twitter. (It was: Long before midnight, the photo had been retweeted more than 2 million times and momentarily crashed Twitter.) One participant, Meryl Streep, giddily exclaimed: “I’ve never tweeted before!” But in celebrating a movie year roundly considered an exceptionally deep one, the Oscars fittingly spread the awards around. The starved stars of the Texas AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” were feted: Matthew McConaughey for best actor and Jared Leto for best supporting actor.
McConaughey’s award capped a startling career turnaround, a conscious redirection by the actor to tack away from the romantic comedies he regularly starred in, and move toward more challenging films.
“It sort of feels like a culmination,” he said backstage. Leto passed around his Oscar to members of the press backstage, urging them to “fondle” it. The long-haired actor, who has devoted himself in recent years to his rock band 30 Seconds to Mars, gravely vowed: “I will revel tonight.” Cate Blanchett took best actress for her fallen socialite in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” her second Oscar. Accepting the award, she challenged Hollywood not to think of films starring women as “niche experiences”: “The world is round, people!” she declared to hearty applause.
Draped in Nairobi blue, Lupita Nyong’o — the Cinderella of the awards season — won best supporting actress for her indelible impression as the tortured slave Patsey. It’s the feature film debut for the 31-year-old actress. “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s, and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsy for her guidance,” said Nyong’o. She also thanked director Steve McQueen: “I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and they are watching and they are grateful, and so am I.”
John Ridley won best adapted screenplay for “12 Years a Slave,” shifting praise to Northup: “Those are his words. That is his life.” Spike Jonze took best original screenplay for his futuristic romance “Her,” the category Russell had the best chance of winning.
Though the ceremony lacked a big opening number, it had a steady musical beat to it. To a standing ovation, Bono and U2 played an acoustic version of “Ordinary Love,” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” Pharrell Williams had Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio dancing in the aisles with “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2.” Pink was cheered for her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” part of a 75th anniversary tribute to “The Wizard of Oz.” And Bette Midler sang — what else? — “Wind Beneath My Wing” for the in memoriam segment — an especially heartfelt one, considering the deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Harold Ramis, James Gandolfini and others. Best documentary went to the crowd-pleasing backup singer ode “20 Feet From Stardom.” One of its stars, Darlene Love, accepted the award singing the gospel tune “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”: “I sing because I’m happy/ I sing because I’m free.”
Disney’s global hit “Frozen” won best animated film, marking — somewhat remarkably — the studio’s first win in the 14 years of the best animated feature category. (Pixar, which Disney owns, has regularly dominated.) The film’s hit single, “Let It Go,” won best original song. “We’re all just trying to make films that touch people,” said co-director Chris Buck backstage. “Once in a while, you get lucky.” Though the Oscar ceremony is usually a glitzy bubble separate from real-world happenings, international events were immediately referenced. In his acceptance speech, Leto addressed people in Ukraine and Venezuela. “We are here and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you,” said Leto.
Russian state-owned broadcaster Channel One Russia said it would not broadcast the Oscars live because of the necessity for news coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula. It will instead transmit the Oscars early Tuesday morning, local time. Venezuelan protesters, via social media, urged Oscar winners to bring attention to their plight. Anti-government protests have roiled the country in recent weeks. Italy’s “The Great Beauty” won the Oscar for best foreign language film. In accepting the award for his rumination on life and Rome’s decadence, director Paolo Sorrentino thanked his heroes, including Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese and soccer star Diego Maradona. In her opening, DeGeneres gently mocked Hollywood’s insularity, referring to the headlines that have swamped the Los Angeles area lately with a slightly less serious news event. “It has been raining,” said DeGeneres. “We’re fine. Thank you for your prayers.”
Best Picture: “12 Years a Slave.”
* Actor: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club.”
* Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine.”
* Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club.”
* Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave.”
* Directing: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity.”
* Foreign Language Film: “The Great Beauty,” Italy.
* Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave.”
* Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, “Her.”
* Animated Feature Film: “Frozen.”
* Production Design: “The Great Gatsby.”
* Cinematography: “Gravity.”
* Sound Mixing: “Gravity.”
* Sound Editing: “Gravity.”
* Original Score: “Gravity,” Steven Price.
* Original Song: “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”
* Costume: “The Great Gatsby.”
* Makeup and Hairstyling: “Dallas Buyers Club.”
* Animated Short Film: “Mr. Hublot.”
* Documentary Feature: “20 Feet from Stardom.”
* Documentary (short subject): “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.”
* Film Editing: “Gravity.”
* Live Action Short Film: “Helium.”
* Visual Effects: “Gravity.”
Honorary Oscars: Peter W. Anderson, Film-processing labs over past century, Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin,Piero Tosi.
Blanchett: It’s Not Easy Being Front-Runner: Winning acting honors at other major awards shows didn’t make the Oscars ceremony any easier for Cate Blanchett.
The night figured to be a coronation for the actress, who’d won best actress honors at the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe Awards and other shows for her role in “Blue Jasmine.” Instead, the prospect of waiting until nearly the end of Sunday’s ceremony proved stressful for the two-time Oscar winner.
“It was an intense, unbearable pressure which I’m so glad is over,” Blanchett said after her win. “It has been every year.”
Blanchett, who has been nominated for acting Oscars five times, took a hiatus from films in recent years to focus on theater work. She won a best supporting actress Oscar in 2005 for “The Aviator.”
“Every year I watch this thing remotely and every year there are five, six, 10, 12 or 20 performances by women that I’m gob smacked by and inspired by,” she said. “And it gets whittled down to five. To be in conversation with those women by proxy ... that’s the privilege and the rest is just chocolate.”
Not Missing A Moment Of Oscar Glory: Jared Leto made sure he captured every aspect of his Oscar moment, going so far as to film the one-minute process it took to engrave his name on his best supporting actor trophy after the show.
Matthew McConaughey also dropped by the Oscar engraving station at the Governor’s Ball to have his name placed on his best actor trophy. He commemorated the moment with pictures of himself and his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey
Spike Jonze arrived at the engraving table just moments ahead of fellow Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron.
“Hey, no cutting!” Jonze, the best original screenplay winner, joked before posing for photos with Cuaron, the best director winner.
Getting A Second Chance: The night was going so well for “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuaron that he didn’t bother making a speech during his first trip to the Oscars stage on Sunday.
He let his co-winner for best film editing take the limelight, only thanking his family backstage after he was prompted to do so by a reporter.
Fortunately for family relations, he got a second chance when he won the best director Oscar. By that point, the film had also won for cinematography, score, sound editing and mixing, and visual effects.
In addition to thanking his family, Cuaron offered special praise to Sandra Bullock (“the soul and heart of the film”).
He also made one of the best slips of the night when he thanked “the wise guys at Warner Brothers” for making the film before quickly correcting himself and calling them “the wise people.”
The wise guys in the Twitterverse still weren’t satisfied.
They complained that he never thanked Sir Isaac Newton.
McConaughey’s ‘True Detective:’ Mum’s The Word: Sure he just won the Oscar for best actor for “Dallas Buyers Club,” but when it came time to talk after the show, Matthew McConaughey was just as interested in what reporters thought about his new HBO series “True Detective.”
The program has quickly become a hit, and McConaughey realized he was doing Oscar interviews about the same time a new episode was airing in some markets. He asked if anyone had seen it and what they thought.
Suddenly there were shouts of “No spoilers.” Many in the press corps hadn’t had time to tune in.
“I don’t know what happens,” McConaughey said, throwing up his arms.
“Aww, maybe I do and I’m not telling,” he added with a knowing grin.
McConaughey’s Inspirations: God, Family, Self: It turns out Matthew McConaughey’s hero is himself, a few years down the line.
In accepting the Oscar for best actor, McConaughey said he needs three things in his life to survive: God, family and someone to look up to as a hero.
When he was 15, the actor said, he decided that hero would be himself in 10 years. Ten years later, he pushed the deadline back another decade. Then another decade.
“My hero’s always 10 years away,” the 44-year-old actor said in a gracious acceptance speech. “I’m never going to attain that. That keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”
After thanking God, his wife and children, his mother and his late father, he offered up something else long-time fans have been waiting to hear this Oscar season: “All right, all right, all right.”
The signature line, from the character McConaughey played in his first film, “Dazed and Confused,” brought the house down.
What’s so funny?: What interrupted Jennifer Lawrence’s presentation of the best actor trophy?
That would be Ellen DeGeneres and the cast of “Dallas Buyers Club.”
As the “American Hustle” actress waltzed on stage, DeGeneres cautiously exited, making sure last year’s best actress winner didn’t take another tumble before DeGeneres, who had earlier teased Lawrence about falling, got off stage.
While most of the crowd didn’t catch the joke, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey and their cohorts laughed loudly, causing Lawrence to go off script.
McConaughey had the last laugh.
Buzz Aldrin: Out-Of-This-World Oscar Fan: Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin may not have any Oscars, but then how many actors can say they walked on the moon.
Aldrin decorated his tux with some of the sparkling gold medals he’s collected for his real-life gravity defying feats over the years when he attended the Night of 100 Stars Oscar viewing party in Beverly Hills. This was his 10th year at the bash.
“I come here for the good-looking guys, and mostly, the good-looking girls,” said Aldrin, winking. “It’s the pomp and ceremony of Hollywood.”
And about those medals: “I feel that girls aren’t the only ones that can wear symbolic jewelry!”
Bathroom-Line Admiration: When Zac Efron found himself behind Daniel Day-Lewis in the backstage bathroom line, he used the opportunity to express his admiration.
“I’m such a huge fan. Your work inspires us all,” Efron said, shaking the Oscar winner’s hand. “It’s great to have someone like you to watch and be inspired by.”
Although gracious, Day-Lewis didn’t want to spend too much time collecting accolades.
“I’m just going to sneak in there before someone else does,” he said as he made a beeline for the bathroom.
Taking Pink To The Land Of Oz: Hey TV watchers: Bet you wondered how they pulled off that “Wizard of Oz” tribute that showed Pink in Kansas and later in the Land of Oz as she sang “Over the Rainbow” during the Oscar telecast.
It took more than five projectors beaming images onto a translucent screen masking the singer to pull it off.
While the effect may have appeared magical on television, those in the Dolby Theatre audience couldn’t really make out Pink for most of the song.
Still, they were impressed.
Jamie Foxx was the first on his feet after she finished.
It was Matthew McConaughey who was the loudest, shouting “WOO HOO!” multiple times.
He’s her neighbor, after all.
Those Oscar Pizzas Weren’t Props: That was a real pizza delivery guy, not an actor, who helped Ellen DeGeneres pass out those pies to the Oscar audience.
The show host met him in a backstage hallway to check out the goods.
“Is it hot?” she asked him. He assured her it was.
“What kind we got here?” she asked. Cheese and veggie with no cheese, he told her.
“OK. Let’s go!” She said, leading the delivery guy onto the Oscar stage.
An Oscar Moment To Remember: Lupita Nyong’o’s best supporting actress win wasn’t just a major moment for the newcomer — it touched everyone in the Dolby Theatre — both in the audience and backstage.
Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, who’d presented the previous award, stayed backstage to watch the category on a monitor. When the clip of Nyong’o’s performance was shown, Hemsworth clapped and Theron said, “So good.”
When Nyong’o’s name was called, the stars cheered, as did the other backstage workers.
When a teary-eyed Nyong’o walked off stage and into the theater hallway, Ellen DeGeneres was waiting to greet her.
“Yay, yay, yay!” DeGeneres said. “You won an Oscar! And it was such a beautiful speech. Such composure!”
She made the actress smile by adding: “And we crashed Twitter with that photo!”
Bill Murray Remembers Harold Ramis: Bill Murray used his Oscar presenter’s role to offer a tribute to the late comedy visionary Harold Ramis.
Murray, who was presenting an award for best cinematography with Amy Adams, said after the nominees’ names were read, “Oh, we forgot one, Harold Ramis for ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day.’”
Ramis, the writer, director and actor who was the comic mind behind those movies, died last week.
Murray appeared in each of the films.
Some Oscar Love for Darlene Love: One of Oscar night’s best-received musical performances was wholly unexpected.
Darlene Love belted out that “I sing because I’m happy” when appearing onstage with the winners of the best documentary feature, “20 Feet From Stardom.”
Love, best known for her work with producer Phil Spector in the 1960s, was one of the featured artists in the film about some of the music industry’s best backup singers.
From the audience, Pharrell Williams smiled as she finished her song. Bill Murray pumped his fist and rose, and other spectators joined him in a standing ovation.
When it was time for U2 to perform their Oscar-nominated song, “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” Bono ended it with a shoutout: “Darlene Love!”
Jared Leto, Media Darling: Best supporting actor winner Jared Leto was a hit backstage with reporters, especially after he shared his moment — and his award — with everyone.
“The first person to give their Oscar away for an orgy in the pressroom,” a smiling Leto said as he passed the trophy around to everyone who wanted to have a moment with it.
“Who’s your favorite Oscar winner tonight?” he asked.
When Leto invited reporters to take selfies, he was cautioned by an Academy representative that no photography was allowed in that particular room.
“If you want to get media, let the media do what they do,” he replied, drawing cheers and applause.
So, Who Won What?: There were big screens aplenty at the Elton John AIDS Foundation viewing party.
But Neil Patrick Harris, Oscar-winner Tatum O’Neal, Sharon Osbourne and other attendees didn’t see much of anything when the screens all went blank.
The picture came back on — for a bit. Then there was just sound. Then there was a blank screen again.
The crowd let out a big moan when it happened for a third time.
Celebs Cut The Rug — Even Leo: By the halfway point of Pharrell Williams’ colorful performance of his Oscar-nominated song “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2,” all the celebs were on their feet dancing and clapping.
All except for one lone holdout: Leonardo DiCaprio.
Eventually, “The Wolf of Wall Street” came around, joining front-row mates Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Meryl Streep.
Immediately afterward, Pharrell and his backup dancers froze in position until a stage manager gave them the all clear. Several of the dancers let out a yelp of excitement once they realized it was indeed over.
How Oscar’s Other Half Walks: Of course status-obsessed Hollywood would have an exclusive red carpet, and then an even more exclusive red carpet.
A red velvet rope separated the A-list Oscar red carpet from the B-list one, which was parallel but closer to the fan bleachers. The social rules were as byzantine and strictly enforced as on any studio set. Or in any high school cafeteria.
* Taking cellphone pictures from the B-list red carpet of the megastars a few feet away: allowed.
* Shaking hands across the velvet rope and telling a star how much you admire them: allowed, but only as long as the tuxedoed security guards don’t see.
* Walking down the lower-ranking red carpet at a leisurely pace: Not allowed, as evidenced by the guards continually muttering, “Please keep moving.”
An A-lister masquerading as a B-lister to get down the carpet quickly: Allowed (and taken advantage of by “Hunger Games” actor Stanley Tucci).
Pharrelll Williams is ... Happy: Pharrell Williams came to the Oscars minus the tall leather hat that made such a splash at the Grammys and won him Twitter comparisons to the Arby’s logo.
This time he made his mark below the waist. Williams, nominated for the song “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2,” wore a formal black tux on top with formal black shorts, and no socks, on the bottom.
It allowed him to look normal in the black-tie crowd until nearby viewers caught a glimpse of his tattooed calves.
Asked how he was feeling, he paused a moment to consider the question.
“I’m ... happy!” he finally said.
He also told AP Live that he was thrilled at how his song — and the video — have become so popular.
“I know it’s the people, man,” he said. “It’s just done so much for me.”
Red Sea of Selfies: Cellphone-clutching celebrities are turning the Oscar red carpet into Selfie Central.
For the first time in memory, the photographers walking this year’s red carpet were clearly outnumbered by Oscar nominees, presenters and other attendees stopping to snap photos of themselves with their phones.
So many selfie shooters crowded the carpet that Oscar organizers had to remind them to keep moving to avoid a traffic jam. Or, worse yet, having someone bump into them and ruin their photo.
A Joyful Captain Walks The Red Carpet: Supporting actor nominee Barkhad Abdi says the way he wraps his head around his new celebrity is simple:
“I don’t think about it,” he told AP Live on the Oscars red carpet. “I’m just enjoying the day.”
Abdi plays the chief Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips,” opposite Tom Hanks. It’s his first acting role — and, obviously, his first Oscar nomination.
“I’m feeling great to be here,” he said. “It’s been a long road. We’re supporting ‘Captain Phillips’ and everybody who put in hard work on the movie.”
With only a week to catch our breath after the lengthy cavalcade of Winter Olympics coverage, this year’s Oscarcast may have seemed a refreshingly snug handout of awards. After all, it lasted only slightly more than three and a half hours, aired on ABC from a single venue (Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre), and was emceed by the comfortably reliable Ellen DeGeneres.
By comparison to the Sochi games, Oscar went by in a flash.
Meanwhile, it had its high moments and a bare minimum of deficits, easily catalogued in cinematic terms: Great scene! Or ... best left on the cutting-room floor.
* Great Scene: The show’s kickoff, which, unlike so many years before, wasn’t an extravagant comedic film featuring the host with a bevy of stars, but instead, found DeGeneres arriving on stage to deliver her simple, but satisfyingly funny, monologue.
In gently wry style, she ribbed celebs in the hall as well as show biz in general. (The nominees, she declared, had collectively made over 1,400 films, “and you’ve gone to a total of six years of college.”)
Then she brought on the first presenter. Brisk and efficient.
After that, she kept the energy flowing through a broadcast predictably sparse in surprises among those who won. Unlike many hosts, she was a regular presence, at one moment gathering stars in the audience for a group selfie to tweet, at another bringing in a pizza delivery guy to share slices with audience members (and then confessing she had no money to pay the bill: “Where’s Harvey Weinstein?”).
DeGeneres did what any host should do: Stay involved and make sure everyone has fun.
At the same time, she seemed to be committed to an unspoken theme for the evening: Humanize Hollywood’s glitterati for the viewers. In return, the stars were on their best behavior.
* Great Scene: Best supporting actor (for “Dallas Buyers Club”) Jared Leto’s acceptance speech paid tribute to his mother, thanking her “for teaching me to dream,” then celebrated the dreams “in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela” - before pledging his support to those who have felt injustice “because of who you are or who you love.” He was the night’s first winner, and, in accepting his trophy, also pulled off a humanistic hat trick.
* For the Cutting-Room Floor: The ironic spectacle of veteran actress Kim Novak, who was a presenter in the category of animation but, at age 81, revealed an eerily baby-smooth face that seemed frozen in place.
* Great Scene: Musical number with Pharrell Williams performing his nominated song, “Happy.”
* Great Scene: U2 performing their nominated song, “Ordinary Love.”
* Great Scene: Pink performing “Over the Rainbow” against panoramic clips from “The Wizard of Oz” in a salute to that beloved film’s 75th anniversary.
* Great Scene: A particularly moving presentation of the In Memoriam roll, free of distracting applause from the audience. After the faces and names of the departed had been seen, Bette Midler sang the evocative “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
* For the Cutting-Room Floor: Superfluous remarks from the president of the Academy, a mission statement whose pace-arresting effect was underscored by DeGeneres a moment later when she cracked, “Good luck following that, Amy Adams and Bill Murray!”
* Great Scene: The heartfelt acceptance spilling out of best supporting actress Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”), who made it clear she understood that “so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.”
* For the Cutting-Room Floor: The format of introducing the nine best-picture nominees, bunched in groups of threes, giving each film short shrift. Isn’t there a better way of giving viewers a fitting sense of these contenders, which, after all, are the heart of what the Oscars is all about?
* Great Scene: The evening’s finale, a joyous reception for best picture winner “12 Years a Slave.”
All in all, a sleek show was the Oscarcast. Few bombshells, fewer embarrassments, from fade-in to fade-out.
Then, in cinematic terms, that was a wrap. Italians celebrated Monday after “The Great Beauty” ended the country’s 15-year hiatus and won the Oscar for best foreign-language film, even as they fretted over budget cuts to a national film industry that has won more foreign Oscars than any other. Premier Matteo Renzi and Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone hailed Paolo Sorrentino’s homage to Federico Fellini and Rome’s seductive decadence as a win for a country struggling through its own economic and even existential crisis. “At this time we have to be thinking about other things, and we’re doing so,” Renzi tweeted. “But everyone is part of this Italian moment of pride for Sorrentino and ‘The Great Beauty.’”
Amid Europe’s economic crisis, Italy’s culture industry has been hard-hit by budget cuts, with the government outsourcing even the restoration of Rome’s Colosseum to private sponsors. In 2000, public funding accounted for 70 percent of total film production costs in Italy; today it’s only 12 percent, according to Anica, Italy’s main film lobby. A new tax credit scheme is helping to encourage more filmmaking at home, but Anica has warned that the industry risks being put “on the margins” unless it is relaunched at a national level.
After his victory, Sorrentino said he wanted to meet with the new culture minister, Dario Franceschini, to discuss the film industry. Franceschini told state-run RAI radio that Italy simply needs to believe in itself.
“The win proves that when Italy is confident in itself and invests in creativity, fantasy, culture and beauty, it’s a winner,” he said. Italy’s great directors — De Sica, Fellini, Tornatore — have won it a record 14 Oscars, 10 of them for best foreign film. France comes in second with nine foreign-language Oscars. The last time Italy snapped one up was in 1998 with Roberto Benigni’s “Life is Beautiful.”

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