Oscar Directors: Germi, Pietro

Born September 14, 1914 in Colombo, Liguria, Italy, died in 1974.

Of lowermiddleclass origin, Germi worked as a messenger and briefly attended a nautical school before deciding on an acting career. He enrolled at Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, where he studied acting and directing, supporting himself as an extra, bit actor, assistant director, and sometime writer.

Making his debut as a film director in 1945, he started out as a disciple of the neorealist school. His early films were typically social dramas, dealing in contemporary issues against Sicilian backgrounds. Gradually he shifted from social drama to satirical comedy with socio-moral overtones but retained as his favorite milieu Sicily and its ignorant, poverty-stricken people.

In the 1960s, Germi he enjoyed worldwide commercial success with such films as “Divorce Italian Style” (Academy Award for Best Screenplay, 1962), “Seduced and Abandoned,” and “The Birds, the Bees, and the Italians” (Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival). He collaborated on the scripts of all his own films and appeared in some of them as an actor. Germi died of hepatitis.

DivorceItalian Style:

Oscar Nominations: 3

Director: Pietro Germi
Actor: Marcello Mastroianni
Story and Screenplay (Original): Ennio De Concini, Alfredo Giannetti, and Pietro Germi

Oscar Awards: 1

Story and screenplay

Oscar Context:

In 1962, Pietro Germi competed for the Best Director Oscar with David Lean (who won) for “Lawrence of Arabia,” Robert Mulligan for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Arthur Penn for “The Miracle Worker,” and Frank Perry for “David and Lisa.”

Marcelo Mastroianni lost the Best Actor Oscar to Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Three of the five nominees for Original Story and Screenplay were foreign films: “DivorceItalian Style,” which won, Ingmar Bergman’s “Through a Glass Darkly,” and Alain Resnais’ “Last Year at Marienbad,” penned by Alain Robbe-Grillet.