Oscars: Hungary Selects 'Son of Saul' for Foreign-Language Category

'Son of Saul'

Laszlo Nemes' Holocaust drama won the Grand Prix in Cannes last month.

Laszlo Nemes groundbreaking Holocaust drama Son of Saul will be Hungary's entry for the 2016 foreign-language film Oscar.

The drama, Nemes' feature debut, won the Grand Prix in Cannes last month. Hungary is believed to be the first country to have picked its Oscar contender for 2016. But as soon as Son of Saul debuted in Cannes, it was clear it would be a frontrunner for the Academy Awards.

Son of Saul is set in Auschwitz in 1944 and follows, in a claustrophobic manner, Saul Auslander, a Jewish Hungarian enlisted to assist the Nazis in their mass killing. While working in the crematoriums, Saul sees the body of a boy he believes to be his son. He starts what seems to be an impossible task: to try and rescue the body to ensure it receives a proper Jewish burial.

Son of Saul bowled over the critics, as much for its technical mastery as its powerful subject matter. In addition to the Grand Prix, it won the international critics' FIPRESCI award.

Sony Pictures Classics picked up Son of Saul for U.S. distribution, insuring the film will get a strong awards-season push. The movie hits Hungarian theaters on June 11, through distributor Mozinet. Films Distribution is handling world sales.