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Sophia Loren wins Best Actress Oscar Sophia Loren wins Best Actress Oscar
by The Ovi Team
2019-04-09 10:04:46
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April 9th, on this day in 1962, the 34th annual Academy Awards ceremony is held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. In addition to the overwhelming triumph of the musical West Side Story, which won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, one of the big victors of the night was the Italian actress Sophia Loren, who took home the Best Actress statuette for her star turn in Two Women (La ciociara in Italian).

Born Sofia Scicolone on September 20, 1934, in Rome, the actress landed her first role as a slave girl extra in 1951’s Quo Vadis, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. After 15-year-old Sofia met the film producer Carlo Ponti while competing in the Miss Rome beauty contest, he began guiding her career. Taking the stage name Sophia Loren, she played a variety of small parts in low-budget films before breaking out in such movies as Aida (1953) and L’oro di Napoli (The Gold of Naples) (1954), directed by Vittorio De Sica. Ponti helped her get exposure beyond the world of Italian film, including a part opposite Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra in 1957’s The Pride and the Passion; she subsequently signed a multi-picture deal with Paramount Pictures. Her marriage by proxy to Ponti (carried out by the couple’s lawyers in Mexico in 1957) caused a scandal: Ponti faced bigamy charges and threats of ex-communication due to Italy’s refusal to recognize his divorce from his first wife, Giuliana, and Loren was seen as his concubine. The divorce eventually went through, and Ponti and Loren married in a civil ceremony in France in 1966. They would stay together until Ponti’s death, in 2007.

Loren gave the most acclaimed performance of her career in De Sica’s Two Women, released in Italy in December 1960 and internationally in 1961. For her portrayal of a mother trying to protect her teenage daughter during World War II, Loren earned numerous accolades, including the top acting honors at the Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals. Her Oscar win made her the first performer ever to win that award for a foreign-language film (her countryman, Roberto Benigni, would later win the Best Actor Oscar for 1998’s Life is Beautiful).


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Emanuel Paparella2016-04-09 13:46:53
Indeed, a well deserved Oscar award for best actress in a foreign film (La Ciociara or Two Women) just a Benigni’s award for the same role in La Vita è Bella was well deserved. Up to then not many people knew that around the Naples area some ten thousand women were raped by Maroccan soldiers fighting with the French as allies, or for that matter, that ten thousand Italian Jews were deported to German lagers by retreating German soldiers toward the end of the war. I suppose both groups could be dubbed collateral damage of war (wholly intended and unnecessary for the success of the war), a war ironically fought by what I would define as "civilized Barbarians" in the name of progress, civilization and “enlightenment.”

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