In a historical series of shortlists, both the feature film Hope, the documentaries Gunda and The Painter and the Thief, as well as the short film The Kicksled Choir, are now competing for the Oscar nominations. Never before have four Norwegian films been shortlisted in the same year. In addition, My Favorite War continues its work towards a nomination in the category Best Animated Feature Film, and Do Not Split with Norwegian director is shortlisted in the category Best Documentary Short Subject.
Director Maria Sødahl's feature drama Hope is among the 15 candidates for the Best International Feature Film Oscar. The Painter and the Thief by Benjamin Ree and Gunda by Victor Kossakovsky will continue to compete among the 15 candidates for the Best Documentary Oscar. Torfinn Iversen's short film The Kicksled Choir is among ten candidates on the Best Live Action Short Film category's shortlist. Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen's My Favorite War continues its work towards a nomination in the category Best Animated Feature Film with a total of 27 entries, and Do Not Split with Norwegian director Anders Hammer is shortlisted in the category Best Documentary Short Subject.
A fantastic recognition
-We are immensely proud! This is a tremendous recognition of Norwegian films' artistic level, with a historically high number of shortlisted productions. And there is an impressive span - with both fiction and documentary, short and long formats. The attention of the international media so far has been great. We believe that the good campaign work will continue and lead to nominations when these are announced on March 15, says Kjersti Mo, CEO of the Norwegian Film Institute.
Hope’s Path to Hollywood
The captivating feature by Maria Sødahl has been praised among festivals, press and buyers. The film had a very successful world premiere in the Discovery section at Toronto International Film Festival 2019. The European premiere took place at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival in 2020, where the film was both invited for the Panorama section and won the Europa Cinemas Label award. Hope also received two nominations at the European Film Awards 2020: Maria Sødahl for 'European Director' and Andrea Bræin Hovig for 'European Actress'. Last week it was announced that Nicole Kidman is executive producing a television series with her Blossom Films company based on the feature (Amazon Studios had purchased rights), with the star in the lead role.
Hope is about Anja, who, in the middle of an active career, gets a life-threatening cancer diagnosis served on Christmas Eve. Together with her husband Tomas, three children, three stepchildren, and their father in a modern extended family - she is thrown into a turbulent Christmas week. Hope is written and directed by Maria Sødahl, starring Andrea Bræin Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård. Thomas Robsahm produced the film for Motlys AS. TrustNordisk handles international sales, and the film has been sold to more than 40 countries. KimStim will release the film in the US and Canada.
Read more about Hope here
The Painter and the Thief
Benjamin Ree's documentary about the painter Barbora and the thief Karl-Bertil who stole her art and how she ends up painting him has garnered glittering reviews worldwide following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2020. The film has been included on the BBC's prestigious list, the only documentary, and both the Washington Post, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Indiewire, Screen, Pedro Almodovar, and Bret Easton Ellis – all mention the film as a highlight from 2020. Ingvil Giske produced the Painter and the Thief for Medieoperatørene. Autlook Filmsales is handling international sales while Neon is the US distributor.
In Gunda, director Victor Kossakovsky reminds us that we share our planet with billions of other animals. Through encounters with a mother sow, two ingenious cows, and a one-legged chicken, Kossakovsky movingly recalibrates our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of all life. The film had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival 2020. The film is written by Victor Kossakovsky and Ainara Vera and produced by Anita Rehoff Larsen for Sant & Usant, while actor Joaquin Phoenix is executive producer and has stated that the film is "fundamentally important and a fabulous work of art." International sales Cinephil - Distribution & Co-Productions handles international sales and United Talent Agency, and Neon is the US distributor.
About The Kicksled Choir
Director and screenwriter Torfinn Iversen's short film The Kicksled Choir is about ten-year-old Gabriel, who wants to sing in The Kicksled Choir, a choir that kicks around on sleds and collects money for people at the refugee centre in the village. When Gabriel's father gets into a fight with one of the refugees, it becomes difficult for him. Torfinn Iversen's short has been screened at numerous festivals and received the Professional Jury's Prize – Best Live-Action Short at the Chicago International Children's Film Festival. The Kicksled Choir is produced by Julia Andersen for Fjordic Film.
My Favorite War
My Favorite War is an animated documentary based on the childhood story of director Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen, growing up in the USSR during the Cold War. It is a coming of age story about the personal road of escape from the mighty authoritarian regime's brainwash. No shortlist has been announced, and 27 animations are still competing for a nomination in the Best Animated Feature Film category. Trond Jacobsen produced my Favorite War for Bivrost film & TV. EastWest Filmdistribution is the international sales agent.
Do Not Split
In addition to the five Norwegian films, Norwegian director Anders Hammer's short documentary Do Not Split, about the demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019, is on the shortlist for a nomination in the Documentary Short Subject category. Do not Split is produced in cooperation with USA-based Field of Vision. It is financed by Fritt Ord and Viken Filmsenter.
Nominations and Award Ceremony
The Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday, March 15. The 93rd edition of the Oscar gala will take place on April 25, 2021, in Los Angeles.
Norwegian nominations and a shortlist
Five Norwegian films have previously been nominated in the category that was previously called Best Foreign Language film: Nine Lives in 1957, The Pathfinder in 1987, Another Side of Sunday in 1996, Elling in 2001 Kon-Tiki in 2012. The King's Choice was on the shortlist in 2016.
Nominations and a win for Torill Kove
Torill Kove has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film three times - for the films My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts, The Danish Poet, and Me and My Moulton. She won an Oscar for The Danish Poet in 2007.