The film, directed by Paolo Virzi and starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, was chosen by national cinema body ANICA as a candidate to succeed another Italian film, Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), as an Academy award winner in the category.
Virzi, 50, has relocated Amidon's noirish tale of two contrasting families whose lives become irrevocably intertwined after a road accident from leafy Connecticut to the prosperous area around Milan.
Its title is drawn from a legal term used to assess the worth of an individual in the event of an accident but also reflects the book/film's treatment of questions of social status: one of the two families featured is much wealthier than the other.
"I'm very honoured," the director said after the nomination was announced.
"It is a big responsibility representing our country at such a complicated but also important time for our cinema."
A total of 76 countries put forward candidates for the foreign language Oscar last year. That was reduced to a shortlist of nine and then a final selection of five from which the Academy members picked the winner.