Italy is an Oscar heavy-hitter. Since the foreign language category was added in 1956, Italy has won it 10 times out of 27 nominations. Only France has more nominations (34), and no one has more victories. Director Giuseppe Tornatore earned one of those wins in 1990 for his sentimental Cinema Paradiso and got another nomination in 1996 for The Star Maker. Now he could have another shot at Oscar gold, as his latest, The Unknown, is Italy's official entry in the 2008 race.

The Unknown (La Sconosciuta), a mystery thriller involving a prostitute, white slavery, and plenty of violence, has been well received in its homeland and at the handful of film festivals it's played. Variety says that Outsider Pictures will release it in the U.S. sometime in February or March -- though you can watch for that to get pushed up if it gets an Oscar nomination.

Italy's last nomination was just two years ago, with Don't Tell. Its last win? Life Is Beautiful, way back in 1998. Time for another one, maybe?
categories Oscars, Cinematical