Matteo Garrone’s “Io Capitano” aka “The Captain” has been nominated by Italy as its candidate for Best International Film at the 96th Academy Awards ceremony slated for March 10, 2024. The nomination was made by a committee of eleven under the auspices of Attica, an Italian cinema body, which praised the film for the way it “embodied with great power and cinematic mastery the universal desire to seek freedom and happiness.”
The drama narrates the saga of two Senegalese teenagers trying to make it across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. It was reported by Deadline that Garrone and the two young co-stars were invited to the Vatican to show the film to Pope Francis. His earlier films included “Tale of Tales” (2015), “Dogman” (2018), and “Pinocchio” (2020).
“Io Capitano” had its world premiere in Venice, where it won three prizes: best director for Garrone, best young star for co-star Seydour Sarr, and best production director for Claudia Cravotta. Garrone wrote the script with Massimo Gaudioso, Massimo Ceccherini, and Andrea Tagliaferri. It had its theatrical release to 200 screens in Italy on September 7 and will be expanded to 350 screens this week. To date, it has already grossed $1.2 million. The film’s sales agent, Pathé International is reportedly ready to announce a deal for the U.S. market.
Over the years, Italian films have won eleven Oscars, the last being Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty in 2013.
In all, twelve features were short-listed for the Italian entry, including Nanni Moretti’s A Brighter Tomorrow, Alice Rohrwacher’s La Chimera, Marco Bellocchio’s Kidnapped, Paola Cortellesi’s C’è Ancora Domani, Riccardo Milani’s Grazie Ragazzi, Gabriele Salvatores’s The Return Of Casanova, Andrea Di Stefano’s Last Night Of Amore, Marisa Vallone’s La Terra Delle Donne, Sydney Sibilia’s Mixed By Erry, Tiziano Russo’s Noi Anni Luce and Giuseppe Fiorello’s Stranizza d’Amuri.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the films on its 2024 Oscar shortlist on Dec. 21.