To clarify, the film, directed by Kristof Deák, was not nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar; that category, which was won last year by the Hungarian film Son of Saul, is reserved for feature length films. That does not, however, take anything away from the enormity of Deák’s achievement.
Sing has already had a great degree of international success before today’s nomination in the Live Action Short Film category: the film won the Grand Prix prize at the Short Shorts Film Festival in Tokyo, the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Kids category, and the Adult Jury Prize in the Live-action Short Film category at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (read our full article on Sing and other Hungarian Oscar contenders here).
The film, which is 25 minutes long, takes place in Budapest in 1991. According to the film’s director, it is inspired by a true story, and “follows an award-winning school choir, their charming teacher and the new girl in class whose arrival starts a series of events that might expose the dark truth behind their fame.” The film stars two child-actors, Dorka Gáspárfalvi and Dorottya Hais, while the teacher is played by Zsófia Szamosi, who has a prominent role in the new, warmly received Hungarian Psycho-Thriller Strangled (A Martfűi Rém), playing the part of the wrongly convicted man’s sister (read our article on Strangled here).
The other nominees in the Live Action Short Film are the Spanish film Timecode; Danish film Silent Nights; Ennemis Intérieurs (Enemies Within), from France; and La Femme et le TGV, from Switzerland.
Today’s announcement makes sing only the second Hungarian live-action short film to receive an Oscar nomination; the first was 1963’s Concert, directed by István Szabó, who would go on to direct Mephisto, Hungary’s first Foreign Language Film Oscar winner.
While we will have to wait until the actual Oscars ceremony, which will be held on February 26th, to know whether or not Sing will bring another gold statue home to Hungary, being nominated is a huge achievement, and a huge step in the right direction for Hungarian cinema as a whole.