Although Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, Sebastian Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman (Un Mujer Fantastico) from Chile was ultimately the one to take home the Oscar at yesterday’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
A Fantastic Woman is Chile’s first Academy Award winner; the movie is about a transgender woman, who has lost her love. The other films under consideration besides On Body and Soul were The Insult, by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri; Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless; and Swedish film The Square, by Ruben Östlund. Chile’s victory has ended Hungary’s two-year Oscar streak: in 2016, László Nemes’ Son of Saul took home the prize in the Foreign Language category, while last year’s Sing won last year’s Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
On Body and Soul tells the story of two people working at a slaughterhouse in Budapest who discover that they have the same dreams at night, and then attempt to make them come true. The film won the Grand Prix (Golden Bear) at the Berlinale last year, as well as the top prize at the Sydney Film Festival, while actress Alexandra Borbély won ‘Best European Actress’ at the European Film Awards, a distinction she received for her role in Enyedi’s film. Rights for the film were acquired in more than 90 countries; in the US, Netflix has screened it since February 2018.
Although the film failed to continue Hungary’s Oscar streak, it is still a great honor to be in the top 5 films to be nominated for the Academy Awards. In addition – as the topic of women right’s came up several times during the awards ceremony – On Body and Soul also held the distinction of being the only Foreign Language Oscar nominee directed by a woman.
Director Ildikó Enyedi told Hungarian state media after the ceremony that
It was nice, it was good, it was a great pleasure. I expected this … We’ll come back with the next film.
Enyedi’s next project is the adaptation of a Hungarian novel The Story of My Wife by Hungarian author Milán Füst: “the story is told by the husband. It’s really about a male soul, the vulnerability of a grown-up man. I think I know a lot about it although I am not a man. I want to enter into the mind and soul of a man of about 45.”
Leading actress Alexandra Borbély has shared a few moments of the Oscar awards ceremony with her followers on Instagram:
Click below to read Melinda Sukosd’s full review of “On Body and Soul”, as well as our Oscar predictions, on Hungary Today:
via 444.hu, mtva.hu, nytimes.com
featured photo: Director Ildikó Enyedi (middle) with leading actress Alexandra Borbély (left) and Mónika Mécs producer at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony. (AFP)