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Norway shortlists three films for the Oscar run

Norwegian directors Erik Poppe’s The King’s Choice, Erik Skjoldbjærg’s The Pyromaniac or Rune Denstad Langlo’s Welcome to Norway will be Norway’s official candidate.

The Norwegian Oscar Committee, including representatives of the Norwegian Film Institute and the Norwegian film industry, has shortlisted three films for the choice of Norway’s official candidate for the nomination for the 2017 Academy Award as Best Foreign-Language: Norwegian directors Erik Poppe’s The King’s Choice (Kongens nei), Erik Skjoldbjærg’s The Pyromaniac (Pyromanen) and Rune Denstad Langlo’s Welcome to Norway.

After the producers have informed the committee about their plans for their Oscar campaign, the final decision will be announced on September 7th. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will publish the nominations on 24 January, 2017, and the awards ceremony will take place on 26 February, 2017.

Starring Danish actor Jesper Christensen as King Haakon VII and Norwegian actor Anders Baasmo Christiansen as Crown Prince Olav, The King’s Choice is set during the German invasion of Norway in 1940. On the afternoon of 8 April, the King was faced with the Germans’ demand for capitulation, a passive government and a Crown Prince ready for action. Scripted by Harald Rosenløw Eeg and Jan Trygve Røyneland, and produced by Paradox, the film about “three of the most dramatic days in the history of Norway” will open in Norway on 23 September.

After his award-winning North Sea thriller Pioneer (2013), Skjoldbjærg switches from water to fire in Pyromaniac, his film about an arsonist who terrorises a small community; a local policeman discovers that the culprit is not a stranger, but a village fireman. Written by Bjørn Olaf Johannessen from Gaute Heivoll’s bestselling novel, the film stars Trond Hjort Nilsen, Liv Bernhoft Osa, Per Frisch and Agnes Kittelsen – Osa was last week awarded an Amanda, Norway’s national film prize, for her performance.

Receiving the audience award at Sweden’s Göteborg International Film Festival earlier this year, Welcome to Norway has Anders Baasmo Christiansen in the leading role as the owner of a mountain-resort hotel, where tourists have stopped coming; to save his business and his family, he converts it into a state-supported refugee asylum centre, in spite of his scepticism towards foreigners. Also scripted by Langlo, and produced by Motlys, the film won lead actors Anders Baasmo Christiansen and Olivier Mukuta Amanda awards last week.

Previous Norwegian Oscar nominées include Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s Kon-Tiki (in 2013), Petter Næss’ Elling (2001), Berit Nesheim’s The Other Side of Sunday (Søndagsengler/1996), Nils Gaup’s Pathfinder (Veiviseren/1987) and Arne Skouen’s Nine Lives (Ni liv/1957).

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