In , she starred in Vittorio De Sica 's Two Women , a stark, gritty story of a mother who is trying to protect her year-old daughter in war-torn Italy. The two end up gang-raped inside a church as they travel back to their home city following cessation of bombings there. Originally cast as the daughter, Loren fought against type and was eventually cast as the mother actress Eleonora Brown would portray the daughter. Loren's performance earned her many awards, including the Cannes Film Festival 's best performance prize, and an Academy Award for Best Actress , the first major Academy Award for a non-English-language performance or to an Italian actress. She won 22 international awards for Two Women. The film was extremely well received by critics and a huge commercial success.