Polish Holocaust Film 'Ida' Makes Oscar Shortlist

In 'Ida,' a young, Catholic novitiate about to take her vows learns that she is the child of Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Part of the poster for "Ida," short-listed for the best foreign-language Oscar.
Part of the poster for "Ida," short-listed for the best foreign-language Oscar.Credit: Screenshot

A Polish film about a young nun who learns that she is the daughter of Jewish parents killed during the Holocaust has made it onto the shortlist of candidates for the best foreign-language film Oscar.

"Ida," a sparse, powerful film by director, Pawel Pawlikowski, joins eight other films from Russia, Sweden, Mauritania, Georgia, Estonia, Argentina, Holland and Venezuela in contending for the category.

The slate of nine nominees will be winnowed down to five finalists when the 87th Academy Award nominations are announced on January 15. The Oscars will be awarded in Hollywood on February 22.

Israel's “Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem,” which depicts the five-year legal struggle of an Jewish wife to obtain a divorce from her reluctant husband, did not make the cut.

Set in 1961, "Ida" is the story of a young, orphaned novice named Anna who is ordered by her Mother Superior to visit her aunt in Lodz before she takes orders. In Lodz she meets Wanda Gruz, 48, a Communist Party member who tells Anna that her real name is Ida Lebenstein, and that she’s Jewish. Anna's mother was Wanda's sister. The two agree to go to the village in which the parents were hidden by Christians and then betrayed

Reviewing the film in the New Yorker, critic David Denvy wrote: "We are so used to constant movement and compulsive cutting in American movies that the stillness of the great new Polish film 'Ida' comes as something of a shock. I can’t recall a movie that makes such expressive use of silence and portraiture; from the beginning, I was thrown into a state of awe by the movie’s fervent austerity."

Among the other strong contenders are Russia’s “Leviathan,” in which a simple worker battles a corrupt city hall, and Sweden’s “Force Majeure,” depicting a family facing down an avalanche while on a ski vacation.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott