Oscar: Foreign Artists in Writing Categories–Italian Neorealism

The best chances for foreign artists to get nominations are in the two writing categories: Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay.

Swiss Film

The Swiss film, Leopold Lintberg’s Marie-Louise, about a group of French children during World War II, was the first European (and foreign-language) movie to win the Original Screenplay, though 1945 was an admittedly weak year for writing achievements. The other nominees were: Dillinger, Music for Millions, Salty O’Rourke, and What Next, Corporal Hargrove

Italian Neo-Realism

Some of the best Italian neorealistic movies were also nominated for writing awards: Roberto Rossellini’s Open City, with a script by Sergio Amidei and Fellini, and Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D, scripted by Cesare Zavattini, a major force in post-war Italian cinema.

1959: The French

In 1959, two of the five nominated original scripts were in foreign films: Francois Truffaut’s stunning debut, The 400 Blows, which was one of the films to launch the French New Wave, and Ingmar Bergman’s arthouse hit, Wild Strawberries, which boasted a legendary performance from Victor Sjostrom, as the old professor.

Neither film won, however.  The winner was an American comedy, Pillow Talk, scripted by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene, based on Stanley Shapiro and Muarice Richlin’s story.

Over the past decades, the writers of the French Day for Night, the Italian Seven Beauties, the French Mon Oncle d’Amerique, the West-German Das Boot, the Swedish Fanny and Alexander, the Argentinean The Official Story, Louis Malle’s Au Revoir, Les Enfants, and Agnieszka Holland’s Europa, Europa, have received writing nominations, if not the actual awards.