Golden Duck Awards

33 Scenes from Life by Małgorzata Szumowska received the Golden Duck for Best Film of the 2008/2009 film season. The readers of Film selected Krystyna Janda as the Best Actress of the year (for her role in Sweet Rush by Andrzej Wajda), while the Best Actor award went to Borys Szyc (for his roles in Snow White and Russian Red by Xawery Żuławski and Case Unknown by Feliks Falk). There were also special awards for historical dramas to celebrate 100 years of Polish cinema. Voted the Film of the Century was The Deluge by Jerzy Hoffman, while Krystyna Janda and Tadeusz Łomnicki were chosen Best Actress and Best Actor respectively.

The awards of the Film monthly magazine were presented last Wednesday during a gala at Warsaw’s Congress Hall.


The whole place was packed with Polish movie stars. Red carpet, cameras flashing, couture, the whole nine yards.


The Golden Ducks are Poland’s oldest film awards. They are awarded annually by the readers of the monthly Film magazine, who vote in a poll for the best films of the season.


This year the Film editorial staff organized an additional special poll to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Polish cinema. The readers selected the best historical film of the century and best actors in this film genre.


The Golden Duck for the Film of the Century was awarded to Jerzy Hoffman for his film The Deluge. “Many thanks. I’d like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to see my new film about the 1920 Battle of Warsaw, in cinemas August 15, 2010”, said Hoffman.

The Deluge came in first, before Krzyzacy by Aleksander Ford and The Pianist by Roman Polanski.


The winner of the award for Best Actress in a historical film was Krystyna Janda (for her role in Man of Marble). The award was accepted by Janda’s daughter, Maria Seweryn. “I’d like to thank you for this award, as Mother is unable to be here. She is currently on stage at the Polonia theatre”, said Seweryn.


Tadeusz Łomnicki was recognized as the Best Actor. He is well-remembered for his roles in Pan Wołodyjowski, The Deluge and …gdziekolwiek jesteś, panie prezydencie… The award was accepted by the actor’s son Piotr Łomnicki and his daughter Helena.

The Film editorial staff also gave readers the opportunity to choose winners in historical film duels – Poland vs. the rest of the world. Five such duels were presented: Faraon vs. Cleopatra, The Deluge vs. Braveheart, Szwadron vs. Glory, Krzyżacy vs. Kingdom of Heaven, and Popioły vs. War & Peace. No surprises here: in all five duels the Polish films were winners. The biggest winning margin went to Faraon by Jerzy Kawalerowicz.

“This award is proof that some films are evergreens”, said Jerzy Kapuściński, president of Studio Kadr today, while accepting the Golden Duck for Faraon. Jerzy Kawalerowicz was the long-time head of Studio Kadr.

Then it was time for the newest features.

The readers of Film decided that the best Polish film of the 2008/2009 season is 33 Scenes from Life by Małgorzata Szumowska. “I am so surprised”, said the director, indeed looking like she had not expected this award. She thanked her “slightly crazy”, to use her own words, professor and supervisor Wojciech Jerzy Has. “I hope I will not let you down with my next movies, but I’m already stressing out a bit”, she said.

Moments later she received the Golden Duck for Best Screenplay for her 33 Scenes from Life. “Now I’m really starting to get scared”, she confessed. “I am just finishing work on a new screenplay. The screenplay for 33 Scenes from Life was pretty much written by life, so: Thank you, Life”, said Szumowska.

The Golden Duck for Best Actor went to Borys Szyc, while the winner of the award for Best Photography was Paweł Edelman.

The Best Actress this year was Krystyna Janda for her role in Sweet Rush by Andrzej Wajda. “I would like to thank Andrzej Wajda for making this film”, said Janda, having appeared at the gala after her theatre play.

The gala was further enriched by well-known songs from Polish films. The famous Dumka from With Fire and Sword was sung by Edyta Górniak and Mieczysław Szcześniak, while Sonia Bohosiewicz performed a song from Noce i dnie.

Several actors also sang, but mostly to amuse the audience. Tomasz Karolak and Paweł Królikowski were mercilessly off-key in their performance of “W stepie szerokim…” from Przygody Pana Michała. This song was to be the anthem of Polish historical films. Borys Szyc performed a piece from Vabanque, a song memorably sung in the film by the now deceased Jacek Chmielnik. Tomasz Karolak then had another attempt on stage and performed a song from Akademia Pana Kleksa. “He must really like to sing”, said Grażyna Torbicka, who hosted this year’s gala.


Translated by Karolina Kołtun