Over the next couple of months, we’ll increasingly learn which films various countries are putting forth as their Foreign Language Oscar submissions. First off the block is Hungary who today confirmed that Son Of Saul will look to make the trek to the Dolby next February. This is one of the more obvious choices given the film’s rapturous reception in Cannes last month — ahead of its screenings, Deadline pegged helmer Laszlo Nemes as a director to watch. It went on to scoop the Grand Prize along with the FIPRESCI. The honors were no small feat for a feature debut director — the only one in the main competition this year. Sony Pictures Classics acquired the Holocaust drama for North America during the festival. Paris-based FilmsDistribution is selling internationally.
Son Of Saul focuses on Saul Ausländer, a member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from Auschwitz in 1944 who were forced to assist the Nazis by cremating the bodies of the dead. Set over a day and a half, the film closely follows Saul as he discovers the corpse of a boy he believes is his young son and sets out to offer him a proper burial.
The announcement of the selection was made today by the Hungarian Film Fund whose committee met on Wednesday to make the unanimous decision. The film releases locally today. SPC has not yet set a U.S. date, but is expected to release at the end of the year to qualify in other categories as well. SPC’s Michael Barker told Deadline’s Pete Hammond that he was convinced leading man, Geza Rohrig, will land a Best Actor nomination.
It would be nice to see such a lauded Cannes film from Hungary advance this year given last year’s head-scratcher of an omission when Kornel Mundruczo’s Un Certain Regard winner White God was left off the shortlist. Hungary last scored a nomination with Istvan Szabo’s 1988 Hanussen. Szabo won Hungary’s only Oscar in 1981 for Mephisto.