Italy cheers Oscar return amid funding angst

ROME (AP) — Italians are celebrating after Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty" won the Oscar for best foreign language film, ended a 15-year hiatus for the country with more foreign Oscar wins than any other.

Sorrentino's homage to Federico Fellini and Rome's seductive decadence led newscasts Monday as everyone from Premier Matteo Renzi to Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone hailed the victory as a win for Italy as it struggles through its own economic and, at times, existential crisis.

Italy's culture industry has been hard-hit by budget cuts, with the government outsourcing even the restoration of Rome's Colosseum to private sponsors. After his victory, Sorrentino said he wanted to meet with Culture Minister Dario Franceschini to discuss the film industry.

Franceschini said the win proves that, "When Italy invests in creativity ... it wins."

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