No end to Norway’s Oscar drought

Kongens Nei got a “nei” from the Oscar committee

Photo courtesy of
The King’s Choice / Kongens nei failed to make the cut for an Academy Award.

The Local

Hopes that Norway would claim its first Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film were dashed when The King’s Choice / Kongens nei was not among the nominees announced on January 24.

Director Erik Poppe’s film about King Haakon VII’s resistance to the Nazi invasion of Norway had survived the cut from 85 submissions to nine but was not among the five finalists.

Adding insult to injury, Norway’s two Scandinavian neighbors Denmark and Sweden are among the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film with Land of Mine and A Man Called Ove, respectively. The other films that will vie for the award at the Oscars gala in Los Angeles later this month are The Salesman (Iran), Tanna (Australia) and Toni Erdmann (Germany).

Kongens nei was hoping to be just the sixth Norwegian nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film. The previous nominees were Ni liv in 1957, Veiviseren in 1987, Søndagsengler in 1996, Elling in 2001, and Kon-Tiki in 2012. None of those managed to take home the Oscar, so there were high hopes that Kongens nei could make Norwegian film history and end the country’s Oscar drought.

Instead, the best Norwegian film buffs can now hope for is that one of their neighbors claims the prize. The Danish entry Land of Mine / Under Sandet is about a group of German POWs who are made to clear Danish beaches of Nazi mines following the war. Swedish hopeful A Man Called Ove / En man som heter Ove meanwhile tells the story of a Saab-driving curmudgeon who has his heart opened by a warm new neighbor.

The German entry Toni Erdmann is also a clear favorite, with the comedy winning best film, director, actress, actor, and screenwriter at the European Film Awards earlier this month.

Some 720,000 Norwegians saw Kongens Nei in theatres, making the war drama the biggest box office draw in what was the Norwegian film industry’s best year in more than four decades.

This article was originally published on The Local.

It also appeared in the Feb. 10, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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