The visceral Holocaust drama “Son of Saul” has won the Oscar for best foreign language film at the 88th Academy Awards.

“Even in the darkest hours, there might be a voice within us that allows us to remain human,” a deeply moved László Nemes said in his acceptance. “That is the hope of this film.”

The film was Nemes’ directorial debut and he, along with Clara Royer, wrote the screenplay for the movie. Set in Auschwitz in 1944, ‘Son of Saul’ tells the story of Saul Auslander, a Jewish inmate forced to escort his fellow prisoners to the gas chambers and help to dispose of their remains. The title role is played by Geza Rohrig, a Hungarian poet and observant Jew who now lives in New York.

“Thanks to the Academy for this incredible honour,” Nemes said at the start of his speech. “Thank you to Sony Pictures Classics, Tom Bernard, Michael Barker for supporting us. Thanks to Hungary for funding this film. I want to share this with Geza Rohrig, my main actor, and the incredible cast and crew that believed in this project when no one else did.”

“Son Of Saul” won the oscar over Jordan’s “Theeb,” Denmark’s “A War,” Colombia’s “Embrace Of The Serpent” and France’s Turkish drama “Mustang.”

The film was favourite to win on Sunday, having already claimed the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in May last year and the Golden Globe for best foreign film in January 2016. On Saturday, it also won the prize for best international film at the Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles.