Oscars: Poland Selects 'Cold War' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Protagonist Pictures
'Cold War'

Pawel Pawlikowski's Cannes award-winning tale of an ill-fated love affair that spans the Iron Curtain is among the favorites to win an Oscar.

Poland has selected Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War as its submission for consideration in the best foreign-language film Oscar category.

Cold War, a critically acclaimed story of an ill-fated love affair set during the late 1950s and early 1960s, had already picked up two best director awards for Pawlikowski — in Cannes, where it premiered in May, and at the Gdynia Film Festival on Saturday in the Baltic Sea resort in Poland.

"Cold War — artistically fulfilled, universal story of impossible love, inscribed in the turbulent history of 20th century Poland," the Polish Oscar Committee said in a press release. "Pawel Pawlikowski's film captivates with its performance, excellent acting and unique use of Polish folk music motifs. The previous successes of the film on the international arena will certainly help in further promotional activities."

Sumptuously lensed in black-and-white by Lukasz Zal, who was also cinematographer on Pawlikowski's previous (and also black-and-white) film Ida, which won the best foreign-language film Oscar in 2014, Cold War is a strong favorite to win another Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards in February. Still, it would have to be nominated first.

The story of a tortuous and passionate love affair between musician Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and his village-born muse Zula (Joanna Kulig) played out between liaisons in Poland, Paris and Yugoslavia over the course of a decade at the height of the Cold War, the film faithfully captures the essence of a period that continues to shape global politics.

The Hollywood Reporter's Cannes review summed up the pic as "a thrilling exploration of romantic disappointment with a killer soundtrack," and adding that it was "yet another exploration of Soviet-era angst in Poland" by Pawlikowski.

Produced by Tanya Seghatchian and Ewa Puszczynska, Cold War, released in June in Poland , is set for a U.S. release on Dec. 21 via Amazon. International sales are being handled by Protagonist Pictures/mk2.

Poland has been submitting films to the Oscars since 1963, but has only ever earned the coveted best foreign-language film honor once, in 2014 for Ida.