Jerzy Skolimowski's ‘emotional’ road movie about a melancholic donkey is nominated for 2023 Oscars
Jerzy Skolimowski's moving film about a donkey's adventures has become one of five nominees in this year's Best International Film category for the Academy Awards.
Chosen alongside the German production All Quiet on the Western Front, Santiago Mitre's Argentina 1985, relationship drama Close from Belgium and the Banshees of Inisherin featuring Colin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson, actors Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams revealed the nominees for the upcoming 2023 Academy Awards on Tuesday.
The movie EO (named after the noise that donkeys make) puts viewers in the shoes of a downtrodden donkey as it travels from a Polish circus to an Italian slaughterhouse.
Along the way, he meets many people who all react differently to the animal. It has a violent brush with some intoxicated football fans, travels around for a while with a truck driver, and eventually lands up in the care of a priest in an Italian mansion.
The only person who treats EO kindly is Kasandra, his trainer from the circus, from whom he has to part at the beginning of the film.
The main character, EO, was played by six similar-looking donkeys, and the film was shot in Sicily and various locations throughout Poland, including Podkarpacie, Lower Silesia, Warmia, and Mazury.
The film is billed as an allegorical story to bring the audience closer to the reality of animal life in the modern world.
Directed by 84-year-old Skolimowski, it was honoured with a prize at the 75th Cannes International Film Festival, which took place in May of last year.
It also opened last year's New Horizons Festival, and at the end of the year received the European University Prize, awarded by European students.
Director Jerzy Skolimowski has won numerous accolades for his work, including the coveted Golden Bear.
He is known for his films such as "Deep End" (1970), "The Shout" (1978), and "Four Nights with Anna" (2008). Skolimowski has also been recognised for his work in the film industry. Throughout his career, he has won many awards and has been nominated for many more.
Skolimowski's film made it to the shortlist of five after battling off productions from 92 countries and regions.
EO will still face strong competition for the statuette, particularly from All Quiet on the Western Front and the Banshees of Inisherin, both of which have received nominations in as many as nine categories.
The remaining films in the Best International Film category are Santiago Mitre's film Argentina 1985 and the relationship drama Close from Belgium.
Speaking at a press conference at the Polish Film Institute after the announcement, Skolimowski said: "I am not happy... maybe it will hit me later ... Mostly I have a feeling of relief."
He explained his philosophical reaction to the nomination as a reaction to the huge amount of work he and his team had just put in on the Oscars marketing campaign.
"Happiness may come later," he added.
People from the world of culture were quick to post their comments on social media.
Director Agnieszka Holland wrote on Facebook: "Bravo Jerzy Skolimowski, Ewa Piaskowska, the whole team and all the donkeys! A huge, well-deserved success."
While actor Borys Szyc commented: "Jerzy Skolimowski with an Oscar nomination for "EO". I have immense joy inside me for this. Ewcia and Jurek are two amazing people and I hope they will win this Oscar."
The 95th American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards Ceremony will be held on Sunday, March 12, at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre.