David di Donatello

The David di Donatello Awards, named after Donatello's David, are film awards presented each year for cinematic performances and production by L'Accademia del Cinema Italiano (The Academy of Italian Cinema; ACI). There are 24 award categories as of 2006.

David di Donatello Awards
A David di Donatello awarded in 2014
Awarded forThe best of Italian and foreign motion picture productions
Date1955 (1955)
Presented byAccademia del Cinema Italiano (Academy of Italian Cinema)
First awarded5 June 1956

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 of the Academy Awards, the David di Donatello Awards (known by the moniker "Donatellos"[1]) were established in 1955 and first awarded in Rome on July 5, 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 have been and are awarded by the people in 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 David di Donatello Organization is fully functional and 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 (the founder), Eitel Monaco and Paolo Grassi. Currently, it is presided over by Gian Luigi Rondi who has worked with the organization since its inception.

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


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 Acting
Piera Detassis 2018 now 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

Retired awards


Multiple prize winning actors

With 7 awards each, Vittorio Gassman, Alberto Sordi and Margherita Buy are the actors who won the most Davids,[4][5] Updated at 2018 David di Donatello (63 editions).

Actor Leading Supporting Total
Margherita Buy 513 23 7 16
Alberto Sordi 78 00 8
Vittorio Gassman 77 00 7
Sophia Loren 66 00 66
Giancarlo Giannini 47 13 5 10
Marcello Mastroianni 56 00 6
Monica Vitti 56 00 6
Valerio Mastandrea 27 23 410
Toni Servillo 47 00 7
Nino Manfredi 44 00 4

See also


  1. "Oscar's Foreign Cousins". Variety. Variety Media. December 9, 1998. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  2. Laviosa, Flavia (January 29, 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 October 17, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  3. "Gold and malachite 'David'". Sotheby's.
  4. "DAVID DI DONATELLO: LA STORIA" (in Italian). rai.it. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  5. "David di Donatello 2018, 63 anni di Oscar del Cinema italiano" (in Italian). altrospettacolo.it. March 18, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 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)
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