Sorrentino eyes Oscars after Bafta win

Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) won a Bafta award on Sunday night in London, the latest in a series of accolades for the Italian film which will boost hopes for an Oscar win next month.

Sorrentino eyes Oscars after Bafta win
Paolo Sorrentino, director of The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza). Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The Great Beauty beat off competition from four other films, including French title Blue Is The Warmest Colour (La Vie d'Adèle), to be named the best film not in the English language.

Sorrentino’s film follows a 65-year-old writer around Rome, as he reflects on his debaucherous life in the Italian capital.

The Bafta award, the most prestigious in British cinema, comes just a month since The Great Beauty was named best foreign film at the Golden Globes in Hollywood.

READ MORE: Sorrentino thanks 'crazy, but beautiful' Italy at Golden Globes

Last year the film won four European Film Awards and is widely tipped to pick up an Oscar on March 2nd.

Watch The Great Beauty trailer:

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PHOTOS: Double takes in Rome as John Malkovich plays pope

Dressed in white robes and other papal insignia, actor John Malkovich delighted throngs on Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican City on Thursday as he filmed a scene for Paulo Sorrentino's The New Pope series.

PHOTOS: Double takes in Rome as John Malkovich plays pope
Is the pope? No, it's The New Pope. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Pilgrims did a double take as the bearded “pontiff” strode around, the 65-year-old going as far as to greet babies proffered for his “blessing”.

After the major success of Sorrentino's The Young Pope series, starring Jude Law, the Italian director has returned with a follow-up drama with American Malkovich as Pope John Paul III.

READ ALSO: Six Italian series worth watching beyond My Brilliant Friend

The actor rode on board a black popemobile rather than the usual white variant and bodyguards were on hand just in case the enthusiasm of yellow rose-waving bystanders ever got out of hand as he left the vehicle to acknowledge them.

As well as spying Malkovich, onlookers also got to see the escort of visiting Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite along the famed Via della Conciliazione en route to a reception with Pope Francis.

But it appeared it was the actor who got top billing as he was put through his paces for the eight-part series — a collaboration between Sky, HBO and Canal+.

Law played an ultra-conservative and machiavellian Pope Pius XIII in The Young Pope, a well-received ten-part series.

All photos by Vincenzo Pinto for AFP.