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Italy Picks ‘Io Capitano’ for the International Feature Category at the Oscars

Matteo Garrone’s migration drama, honored at Venice Film Festival, will represent Italy at the 2024 Oscars in the Best International Film category.

Italy has selected Matteo Garrone’s poignant migration drama, “Io Capitano,” as its entry for the Best International Film category at the 2024 Oscars.

The film portrays the journey of two Senegalese teenagers as they attempt to reach Italy from Dakar, embarking on a perilous voyage across the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea. “Io Capitano” premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it earned Matteo Garrone the Silver Lion for Best Director and Seydou Sarr the award for Best New Actor. The Hollywood Reporter recognized the film as one of the top 15 movies from this year’s fall festivals.

“Io Capitano” is particularly relevant in light of Italy’s current stance on immigration under the leadership of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who has adopted a stricter immigration policy.

Speaking at the United Nations, Meloni emphasized the need for enhanced migration controls, asserting her refusal to let Italy become “Europe’s refugee camp.”

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The selection of “Io Capitano” was made by an Oscar committee overseen by the Italian cinema organization Anica. It prevailed over other shortlisted contenders, including Alice Rohrwacher’s “La Chimera,” Nanni Moretti’s “A Brighter Tomorrow,” and Marco Bellocchio’s “Kidnapped,” all of which premiered at Cannes this year.

Italy has a strong track record in the Best International Feature category, with 11 previous wins in the category, although the most recent victory dates back to 2013 with Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty.” Garrone, who has earned BAFTA nominations for “Gomorrah” in 2009 and “Dogman” in 2019, is yet to secure an Oscar nomination.

The deadline for submissions in the Best International Film category is October 2. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will reveal the shortlisted films for the 2024 Oscars on December 21, with the final five nominees announced on January 23. The 95th Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 10.

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