The Norwegian Oscar Committee has selected Hope (Håp), directed by Maria Sødahl, as its submission for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards in April.
Hope explores what happens when someone is given three months to live. Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig) and Tomas (Stellan Skarsgård) share a home with each other and their children, but over the years they have grown apart. So when Anja is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer the day before Christmas, their neglected love is exposed as their lives break down.
The committee said in their deliberation: “Hope is an unusually intimate and original story about a family going through an all-encompassing crisis. In the shadow of sudden and serious illness, the film pays homage to life and love in the encounter with the worst imaginable, all based on the filmmaker’s personal experiences. Approaching the very innermost and complex with such a fine-tuned use of cinematic and emotional means is therefore an achievement.”
“Screenwriter and director Maria Sødahl balances the ensemble both in front and behind the camera with impressive security. Not least, Andrea Bræin Hovig’s unsentimental interpretation of the main role, in beautiful and close interaction with Stellan Skarsgård as an introverted husband, helps to create a rare universal and strong portrait of a fragile love affair. This makes Hope a touching and wise film which, above all, emphasises hope and the will to live as indisputable factors when darkness envelops the belief in a future.”
The 93rd Academy Awards will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during a gala ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday 25th April 2021. A shortlist of ten films will be announced by the Academy on 9th February and the final five nominees will be revealed on 15th March 2021.