Warsaw, Poland – A year after Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War, Jan Komasa’s Corpus Christi, known in Polish as Boże Ciało, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best International Feature.
The Polish production about a young man pretending to be a priest in a small village in southern Poland will compete against Les Misérables (France), Pain and Glory (Spain), Parasite (South Korea) and Honeyland (North Macedonia). The winner will be announced during the Academy Awards ceremony on 9 February.
Making the shortlist, Hungary’s Those Who Remained (Akik maradtak) and the Czech Republic’s The Painted Bird were unfortunatly not nominated by the Academy.
Inspired by a true story, Corpus Christi is the third feature film of Polish director Jan Komasa. It centers around the story of 20-year-old Daniel (played by Bartosz Bielenia), a young offender who, after being released from prison and experiencing a spiritual transformation during his incarceration, “accidentally” poses as a priest.
An “original and absorbing” movie according to Hollywood Reporter critic David Rooney, Corpus Christi tackles sensitive topics and has raised controversy in Catholic Poland where it has been seen by over a million viewers.
Since Roman Polanski’s first Oscars submission in 1963 with Knife in the Water, Polish movies have been nominated no less than eleven times in the Best Foreign Language Film category, winning once with Pawel Pawlikowki’s Ida in 2014. Other Polish nominees have included Andrzej Wajda’s Katyń, Man of Iron, Agnieszka Holland’s Angry Harvest, and Pawlikowski’s latest film, Cold War.
Despite being nominated for a record three Oscars last year (Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography), Pawlikowski’s acclaimed black-and-white drama failed to notch up any of the coveted awards, losing the international feature film statuette to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. More luck this year?
Central Europe will nevertheless have a second chance of bringing back a coveted Academy Award from Hollywood, with the Czech animated short film Dcera, directed by Daria Kashcheeva, a Russian student at Prague’s FAMU Film School, nominated for Best Animated Short.