Oscars 2015: Poland Celebrates First-Ever Foreign-Language "Triumph"
Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Ida' was the country's 10th nomination in the category.
The country is the home of some of the world's best-known filmmakers. Among Oscar winners from Poland or with Polish connections are Roman Polanski, who was born in France but also holds Polish citizenship (for The Pianist); cinematographer Januzs Kaminski (Schindler's List); and veteran director Andrzej Wajda, who received an honorary Oscar. The nation of 40 million people had never won the foreign-language category despite nine previous nominations over the past half century, including Agnieszka Holland's In Darkness in 2011 and Polanski's Knife in the Water in 1963.
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The Polish Film Institute (PISF), which helped finance the Polish-Danish co-production Ida, splashed news of the win on the home page of its website after the winner was announced, dubbing it the "Triumph of Polish CInema. An Oscar for 'Ida!' "
Pawlikowski, who after postgraduate studies at Oxford University began his career making documentaries for the BBC, first found international fame with English-language films, including The Last Resort (2000) and My Summer of Love (2004), which starred Emily Blunt.
In comments made in a video interview posted by PISF, Pawlikowski said: "I had wanted to make a film about Poland for a long time. It was a personal return to Poland but also a return to a certain landscape and time that somehow remain close to my heart, my childhood memories," adding that "one of the reasons I made this film was to re-create the spirit of an era I still remember, through music, photographs etc."
Pawlikowski's win also made top billing on the website of Gazeta Wyborcza, one of Poland's leading newspapers.
The paper quoted his acceptance speech in which the director noted that an Oscar for a black-and-white film about the need for silence and withdrawal from the world was now at the "epicenter of noise and the world's attention," adding: "Life is full of surprises."
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Agnieszka Odorowicz, director of the PISF, who attended the Academy Awards ceremony, said: ""The Oscar for Ida is the crowning glory of its spectacular international success at festivals and the box-office."
She added: "The fact that a Polish film received thisAcademy Award also serves as a beautiful and symbolic crowning of 10 years of Polish Film Institute activity in supporting Polish cinema."