STEPHEN POLIAKOFF writer and director
Sunday 18 April 1999
Life is Beautiful is a bold idea, and I can see why in Israel, and among Jewish movie-goers - and even as a Jew myself - you're grateful for the way it reminds the world of what happened. But even worse than the unreality of the film was Roberto Benigni's performance, which is so pleased with itself. What you got at the awards ceremonies is what you get in the movie.
I was really surprised that he won both awards, that he has been voted for by both Americans and English as best actor. I can't explain it. It is an enormous shame that Ian McKellen didn't get the Oscar. Awards are only important in the difference they make to careers; McKellen is an actor whose work is only coming to life now, and it is very exciting.
Stephen Poliakoff's play `Talk of the City' is broadcast on Radio 3 on 9 May.
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