The Academy now has official submissions from Sweden, Norway and Finland (the former Swedish territory is sometimes considered Scandinavian, sometimes not).
Hannes Holm’s “A Man Called Ove” (September 30, Music Box Films) is Sweden’s 2016 Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Based on the book by Fredrik Backman, it stars Swedish actor Rolf Lassgård as a grumpy old man who befriends a new neighbor (Persian actress Bahar Par). The film was the country’s third-biggest domestic hit at the box office.
Norway has also picked its Oscar selection for 2016: Erik Poppe’s historical drama “The King’s Choice” (“Kongens nei”). Norwegian writers Jan Trygve Røyneland and Harald Rosenløw Eeg set the action during the German invasion of Norway in 1940, when King Haakon VII (Danish actor Jesper Christensen) faced down the German demand for capitulation, although it meant the Nazis would dispatch air raids in order to try and kill him—and many others. Nordisk will open the true story in Sweden on September 23.
The Finnish entry is “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki,” a sports romance directed by Juho Kuosmanen, which won Un Certain Regard at Cannes and is playing Toronto before releasing stateside via MUBI.
The final five foreign language nominees, picked by various Academy committees, will be announced on January 24, 2017.