By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Black-and-white Polish drama "Ida" won the Oscar for best foreign language film on Sunday, capping a successful awards season run in which the austere tale of identity in post-World War Two Poland won top awards in Europe and the United States.
Director Pawel Pawlikowski's film, about a novitiate nun who learns she is a Jewish orphan, earned the country its first Academy Award in 10 total nominations in the category.
“To my Polish friends who are in front of the TV, the crew who were in the trenches with us and who are totally drunk now and you were fantastic, you were brilliant, you carried me through this film and you are what I love about Poland, your resilient courage is brave and funny," the filmmaker said.
Pawlikowski, 57, drew laughter and applause from the audience for continuing his speech after the play-off music had started.
"Ida" has won Britain's BAFTA for best foreign film, and top film, director, screenplay, cinematography and audience honors at the European Film Awards.
Cinematographers, Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, have also earned Oscar nominations for best cinematography.
The film set in 1962 follows novice nun Anna, played by 23-year-old amateur actress Agata Trzebuchowska, as she travels with her aunt Wanda, a fallen Stalin-era prosecutor, to the countryside where Anna was born as a Jew named Ida.
The widely praised film that touches on personal history and individual culpability has been criticized by Polish nationalists who believe it unfairly depicts Poles during the war and for its lack of focus on the German occupation.
Pawlikowski said ahead of the Oscars that he did not want to make a film that explained Polish history but one that explored the characters' "psychological situation and paradoxes of the human soul."
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Sandra Maler)