A film acting career that spans seven decades is so extremely rare that it’s almost unheard of, but 86-year-old Sophia Loren is living proof that it is possible. Since her early days as an extra, the Italian screen legend has stunned audiences all over the world with her timeless beauty as well as her remarkable talent, for which she has been consistently rewarded. In 1995, she was chosen as the 10th female recipient of the Golden Globes’ highest honor: the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Though she has a total of five Globe wins to her name, she has still never prevailed in a competitive category – but, that could change this year.
In “The Life Ahead,” which was released on Netflix last November, Loren stars as Madame Rosa, a former prostitute who makes a living caring for other people’s children. The story focuses on the especially strong, life-changing bond she forms with a 12-year-old street urchin. The film, directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti, serves as an impressive comeback for Loren, who had not appeared in a feature film since the musical “Nine” in 2009.
Her relationship with the Golden Globes dates back to 1961. That year, she received her first nomination for Best Comedy/Musical Actress for “It Started in Naples,” but lost to Shirley MacLaine (“The Apartment”). Her second bid in the category came in 1965 for “Marriage Italian Style,” but Julie Andrews (“Mary Poppins”) triumphed over her, just as she did when the two of them competed at the Oscars two months later.
From 1964 to 1977, Loren won the now-retired Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite four times, a record she shares with Barbra Streisand. Her supporting performance in Robert Altman’s “Prêt-à-Porter” brought her her most recent bid 26 years ago. She accepted her DeMille award that same night but lost the competitive award to Dianne Wiest (“Bullets Over Broadway”).
Though they have recognized her for career achievement, members of the HFPA may feel the urge to finally reward Loren for an individual performance this year. Currently, she ranks fifth in our Best Drama Actress race with 8/1 odds. If included among the nominees, she may pull off a win based on the combined strength of her performance and her eternal popularity. In a sense, it would be a way to honor her illustrious career once more.
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