There are 51 Hungarian or Hungarian related Oscar Award-Winners. Not a lot of people know about them, but one name stands out. László Nemes-Jeles, who won both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film Award with Son of Soul (2015) is considered one of Hungary’s most famous directors and screenwriters. His journey in the film industry is truly an outstanding one.
László Nemes-Jeles was born on February 18, 1977, in Budapest. He is the son of András Jeles, director, who has been awarded a Kossuth Award. The family moved to Paris when he was the age of 12. Nemes became interested in horror movies, and he started filming them in the family’s basement when he was 13. He considers Michelangelo Antonioni, Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, and Stanley Kubrick as some of his favorite directors. In his studies at university, he studied history, literature, international relations, and screenwriting.
Career and Studies
From 2001, he was the director -and producer-assistant for various small -and big feature films, both in France and Hungary. In 2005, he was the first assistant on Bálint Kenyeres’ short film Before Dawn, then he worked as a second assistant on Béla Tarr’s A londoni férfi (The Man from London). In September 2006, he moved to New York to study film directing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He made his movie Türelem (With a Little Patience) in 2006, which in February 2007, won the award for Best Small Feature Film and for „Unusual recreation of a sensitive subject” in the 38th Hungarian Film Review. After that, he got invited to the competition program of the Venice Film Festival, then in 2008, he got nominated for the European Film Academy’s Best Short Film Award. His second short movie, The Counterpart (2008) has been presented in various festivals. It won awards in Bucharest, Bergamo, and Valencia. Beginning in September 2011, he spent five months in Sciences Po Paris as a part of a scholarship program arranged by the Cinéfondation, where he and Clara Royer developed the script for Son of Saul. In 2012, they continued intensive work on the screenplay for seven months at the Jerusalem International Film Lab rubbing shoulders with emerging directors, Boo Junfeng and Morgan Simon. He developed his project Sunset through the TorinoFilmLab Script&Pitch programme in 2012 and the Framework programme in 2015.
Son of Saul
His debut large feature film, Son of Saul got invited to the 68th Cannes Film Festival as part of the main competition. Among several awards, it won the Grand Prix as well, the second-most prestigious prize of the festival. Nemes-Jeles accepted the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film for the movie. It is the third Hungarian film to be nominated, but the first one to win it. After all of that, Son of Saul won the award for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Oscars.
Notable movies of László Nemes-Jeles
1999 – Arrivals (shortfilm, director, screenwriter)
2004 – Une vie en l’air (short feature film, second assistant, director: Emmanuel Malka)
2005 – Before Dawn (short feature film, first assistant, director: Bálint Kenyeres)
2007 – The Man from London (large feature film, director-assistant, director: Béla Tarr)
2007 – With a Little Patience (small feature film, director, screenwriter)
2008 – The Counterpart (small feature film, director, screenwriter)
2010 – Az úr elköszön (small feature film, director, screenwriter, producer)
2015 – Son of Saul (large feature film, director, screenwriter)
2018 – Sunset (large feature film, director, screenwriter)
Some notable awards of László Nemes-Jeles
2018 – 15th Seville Film Festival – Eurimages Award To The Best European Coproduction
2019 – 9th Beijing International Film Festival – The Best Director