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Oscar winners thank Italy

Fiore, Giacchino honoured for Avatar, Up

08 March, 20:29
Oscar winners thank Italy

(ANSA) - Los Angeles, March 8 - Italy's two Oscar winners, Avatar cinematographer Mauro Fiore and Up composer Michael Giacchino, thanked Italy after picking up their statuettes Sunday night. Fiore said he "really wanted" to get his Italian just right in his acceptance speech for the groundbreaking lenswork on James Cameron's 3-D blockbuster.

"I'd prepared that phrase, I really wanted to say it," said the Calabrian-born Fiore, 52, who accepted the prize by saying, in Italian: "Un gran saluto all'Italia. Viva l'Italia. Un grande abbraccio!".

That bit "had to be in Italian," Fiore said, "for all my relatives and friends who were watching the ceremony in the little town in Calabria, Marzi, where I was born".

In the speech, Fiore also thanked his parents, Lorenzo and Romilda, "who arrived in America with four suitcases and a dream".

Marzi Mayor Rodolfo Aiello said Fiore, who shares his birthplace with the grandfather of Lovely Bones nominee Stanley Tucci, would be back in Marzi in June "for a huge celebration party".

Italy's other winner, Italian American composer Michael Giacchino, stressed the part he believed Italy played in the gifts expressed in the original score for the Pixar animated hit Up.

"It's no secret that Italians, as well as making the best food in the world, have also created some of the greatest music ever," he said, citing Rossini as an example. "Beauty comes naturally out of Italy. I'm really proud to belong to Italy and to have my roots and family in this country," said the musician, who was born in New Jersey 42 years ago but finally got his Italian passport last year.

"I'm Italian and I'm very proud of my roots".

Giacchino mother's family emigrated from Abruzzo and his father's from Sicily at the start of the 20th century.

Giacchino, whose other credits include Star Trek, Mission Impossible III, The Incredibles and cult TV series Alias and Lost, and who earned a nomination for Ratatouille two years ago, said his brother "fought for five years" to get the family Italian passports.

"Now we've done it I'm so happy we've recovered our Italian heritage. Not just for us, but something to hand down to our children," Giacchino said.

Another Italian American composer, Marco Beltrami from Long Island whose father hails from a small town near Turin, missed out for his score to The Hurt Locker.

Italy had three other disappointed contenders: screenwriter Alessandro Camon whose original screenplay for anti-war drama The Messenger lost to the Hurt Locker; and make-up artists Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano whose work on Il Divo, a portrait of Italian statesman Giulio Andreotti, lost out to Star Trek.

photo: Fiore

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