Oscars: Hungary Wins Its First Foreign-Language Honor Since Fall of Communism
'Son of Saul,' directed by Laszlo Nemes, beat out competitors from France, Denmark, Colombia and Jordan.
Hungary won its second foreign-language Oscar on Sunday night and its first since the fall of Communism in 1989.
Son of Saul, directed by Laszlo Nemes, beat out competitors from France, Denmark, Colombia and Jordan. Colombia and Jordan had been nominated in the category for the first time.
"I want to share this with Geza Rohrig, my main actor, and the incredible cast and crew that believed in this project when no one else did," said Nemes. "You know, even in the darkest hours of mankind ... there might be a voice within us, that allows us to remain human. That’s the hope of this film. Thank you very much, thank you."
Son of Saul, which tells the story of a Jewish Auschwitz concentration-camp prisoner desperately trying to give a boy a decent burial, was widely seen as this year's favorite in the foreign-language category. It already won Hungary its first-ever Golden Globe earlier this year.
Hungarian films had been nominated for the foreign-language Oscar eight times before this awards season. Son of Saul marked the first nomination since the fall of Communism, though.
Istvan Szabo's Mephisto (1981) won the country's only foreign-language honor before Saul, and his Hanussen (1988) was the most recent Hungarian nominee in the category prior to this year.
Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban had praised the Golden Globes win for Saul, saying on Facebook: "Wow! A unique Hungarian success! I convey my heartfelt congratulations to Laszlo Nemes and all the creators and actors of Son of Saul."
The film is seen as one of the success stories after a fundamental shake-up of the country's national film subsidy system.