Born in 1897 in Siciliy, Italy, Capra came to the United States with his family in 1903. His work often reflected an idealized vision of the American dream, perhaps spurned by his own experiences as an immigrant. Depression-era audiences lapped up his sweetly sentimental screwball comedies, which often centered on the plight of the common man.
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He earned his first Oscar nomination for directing “Lady for a Day” (1933), and his loss was infamously embarrassing: when presented Will Rogers opened the envelope, he said, “Come up and get it,