David di Donatello

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David di Donatello Awards
65th David di Donatello Awards
David di Donatello miglior canzone originale- Alessandro Nelson Garofalo.jpg
A David di Donatello awarded in 2014
Awarded forThe best of Italian and foreign motion picture productions
Date1955; 65 years ago (1955)
Presented byAcademy of Italian Cinema
First awarded5 June 1956

The David di Donatello Awards, named after Donatello's David, are film awards given out each year by the Accademia del Cinema Italiano (The Academy of Italian Cinema). There are 26 award categories as of 2020.

It is the Italian equivalent to the American Academy Awards and ranks among top-tier awards such as the Premio Regia Televisiva for television, the Premio Ubu for stage performances, the Sanremo Music Festival for music, and the annual Venice Film Festival.


Following the same criteria as the Academy Awards, the David di Donatello Awards (known by the moniker "Donatellos"[1]) were established in 1955 and first awarded in Rome on 5 July 1956.[2] Created by a cultural club (then called "The Open Gate"), the aim was to honour the best of each year's Italian and foreign films.

Similar prizes had already existed in Italy for about a decade (for example, the "Silver Ribbons"), but these were voted for by film critics and journalists. However, the Donatellos are awarded by people within the industry: screenwriters, performers, technicians, producers, and so on.

After Rome, from 1957 to 1980, the ceremonies were held at the Greek Theatre in Taormina during Taormina Film Fest, then twice in Florence, and finally returned to Rome, always with the support of the President of the Republic and now with the collaboration of the Rome City Council Cultural Policies Department. During the years the ceremony was held in Taormina during the 1950s, it was organized by journalist and film producer Michael Stern, who later went on to found The Michael Stern Parkinson's Research Foundation in New York City.

The founding organization, now called the Accademia del Cinema Italiano, works in concert with and thanks to the contribution of the Italian Ministry of the Performing Arts and the Ministry for Cultural Properties and Activities.

The presidents have successively been Italo Gemini (founder), Eitel Monaco, Paolo Grassi, Gian Luigi Rondi, Giuliano Montaldo, and currently, Piera Detassis.

The prizes are awarded primarily to Italian films, with a category dedicated to foreign-language films.


Italian President Ciampi shows the prize at the 2005 awards ceremony.

Here is a list of presidents of the Academy of Italian Cinema:

President Start End Notes
Italo Gemini 1955 1970
Eitel Monaco 1971 1977
Paolo Grassi 1978 1980
Gian Luigi Rondi 1981 2016† President for life since 2009
Giuliano Montaldo 2016 2017 Interim
Piera Detassis 2018 current First female to hold the office

Died in office.


The trophy is in the form of a gold David statuette replica of Donatello's famous sculpture, on a square malachite base with a gold plaque recording the award category, year, and winner.

The 1956 David by Bulgari, awarded to Gina Lollobrigida for Beautiful but Dangerous, was auctioned at Sotheby's in 2013.[3]

Award categories[edit]

Retired awards[edit]

  • David di Donatello for Best Foreign Director (from 1966 to 1990)
  • David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor (from 1957 to 1996)
  • David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actress (from 1957 to 1996)
  • David di Donatello for Best New Actor (1982 to 1983)
  • David di Donatello for Best New Actress (1982 to 1983)
  • David di Donatello for Best European Film (from 2004 to 2018, merged into Best Foreign Film)
  • David di Donatello for Best Screenplay (1975 to 2016, split into Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay)
  • David di Donatello for Best Foreign Producer (from 1956 to 1990 except in 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, and from 1972 to 1980)
  • David di Donatello for Best Foreign Screenplay (1979 to 1990)
  • David di Donatello for Best Foreign Score (1979 to 1980)
  • Golden plaque (from 1956 to 2001 except in 1961, 1962, from 1975 to 1983, and from 1985 to 1989)
  • European David (from 1973 to 1983)
  • David Franco Cristaldi (from 1992 to 1993)
  • David Luchino Visconti (from 1976 to 1995)
  • David René Clair (from 1982 to 1987)
  • Alitalia Award (from 1984 to 1991)
  • Gold medal of the Municipality of Rome
  • Gold medal of the Minister for Tourism and Entertainment


Multiple prize-winning actors[edit]

As of 2018, with seven awards each, Vittorio Gassman, Alberto Sordi, and Margherita Buy are the actors who have won the most Davids.[4][5]

Actor Leading Supporting Total
Margherita Buy 5 13 2 3 7 16
Alberto Sordi 7 8 0 0 8
Vittorio Gassman 7 7 0 0 7
Sophia Loren 6 6 0 0 6 6
Giancarlo Giannini 4 7 1 3 5 10
Marcello Mastroianni 5 6 0 0 6
Monica Vitti 5 6 0 0 6
Valerio Mastandrea 2 7 2 3 4 10
Toni Servillo 4 7 0 0 7
Nino Manfredi 4 4 0 0 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oscar's Foreign Cousins". Variety. Variety Media. 9 December 1998. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  2. ^ Laviosa, Flavia (29 January 2015). "David di Donatello 1956–2016: Sixty Years of Awards" [Call for Papers] (PDF). Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies. Intellect. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Gold and malachite 'David'". Sotheby's.
  4. ^ "DAVID DI DONATELLO: LA STORIA" (in Italian). rai.it. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  5. ^ "David di Donatello 2018, 63 anni di Oscar del Cinema italiano" (in Italian). altrospettacolo.it. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018. Tra gli attori più premiati di sempre troneggiano Alberto Sordi e Vittorio Gassman, entrambi a quota 7 David, vinti sempre come migliori attori protagonisti. La Meryl Streep del Cinema italiano è invece Margherita Buy, che ne ha vinti altrettanti (su 16 candidature)

External links[edit]