Paolo Sorrentino’s Cannes Palme d’Or-nominated drama The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) chosen by Italy as its entry for the Best Foreign-Language Oscar.

The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza), by director Paolo Sorrentino, has been submitted by Italy for the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.

The film reunites Sorrentino with Il Divo star Toni Servillo in the story of a jaded, ageing writer who tries to resuscitate his career but is floundering in high life parties and the memory of a former love.

It was considered a frontrunner for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May; won five Silver Ribbons at the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists awards; and a Globi d’Oro (Golden Globes) for Luca Bigazzi’s cinematography.

The Great Beauty marks the first Oscar submission for Sorrentino, who has screened five of his features in Competition at Cannes.

Other candidates considered to represent Italy, selected by a committee overseen by audiovisual association ANICA, included:

  • Miel, Valeria Golino
  • Razzabastarda, Alessandro Gassman
  • Midway Between Life and Death, John Real
  • Salvo, Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia
  • Viaggio sola, Maria Sole Tognazzi
  • Viva la liberta, Roberto Andro.

Italy has won more foreign language Oscars than any other country with a total of 13, including Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful in 1999 - the last time the country won in the category.

Spanish entry

Gracia Querejeta’s 15 Years and One Day has been selected to represent Spain in the foreign language Oscar race.

The Spanish Film Academy chose the drama, which stars Maribel Verdu’s as a young mother raising her son in the shadow of her overbearing mother.

It was produced by Castafiore Films and Tornosol Films. Tornosol also made Juan José Campanella’s The Secret in Her Eyes, which won the foreign-language category for Argentina in 2009.

Other films considered were Manuel Martin Cuenca’s Cannibal, Sanchez Arevalo’s La Gran Familia Espanola and Santiago Zannou’s Alacrán enamorado.

Spain last won the category in 2004 with Alejandro Amenábar’s The Sea Inside.

The Academy will announce the nominations on Jan 16, 2014. The 86th Academy Awards ceremony will take place on March 2, 2014.