The Norwegian Oscar Committee has announced that its entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards is What Will People Say (Hva vil folk si), by Iram Haq, whose debut feature I Am Yours represented Norway in 2013.
The film follows 16 year old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah), whose life becomes a nightmare when she is found by her father (Adil Hussain) in her room with a boyfriend. Until then she had maintained a double life with her friends in Oslo in the evenings, whilst being the dutiful daughter at home to her Pakistani family.
In order to set an example and escape judgement by their community, Nisha’s parents send her against her will to live with extended family in Pakistan, where she must adapt to a rigid culture that denies her the freedoms she once enjoyed.
The Oscar Committee said in their deliberation: “The touching and distinct personal drama of this film, where the woman’s perspective is underscored with bitterness and resentment, has great impact with universal relevance. This is further enhanced by solid craftsmanship in all areas in front of and behind the camera.”
“Since its premiere last autumn, this film has performed well at Norwegian cinemas and has toured some of the world’s biggest film festivals where it has won several audience awards. It shows that its balanced story and general themes have affected and touched many people…. and will do well in competition with the best in the world.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce its final five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film on 22nd January, with the Oscars taking place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on 24th February 2019.