Norway’s candidate for Best International Film at the 93rd Academy Awards in Hollywood, Håp (Hope), is about what happens in a large family when a highly stressed mother who’s finally been able to restart her own career gets a terminal cancer diagnosis on the day before Christmas. The film is based on the personal experience of its screenwriter and director, Maria Sødahl, who survived to tell about it.
“I’m overjoyed,” Sødahl stated in a press release from the Norwegian Film Institute. “Together with my brilliant and generous actors Andrea Bræin Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård, I sincerely wish Hope will leave a lasting impression on audiences in Europe and the US.”
The film, described as a “rarely intimate and original story about a family in crisis” during the holidays, has already been nominated for two European Film Awards (best director and best actress) and been sold to more than 40 countries. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019 and was also featured at the international film festivals in Berlin and Palm Springs.
The Norwegian Oscar Committee chose it as Norway’s Oscar candidate also because it “pays homage to life and love in the encounter with the worst imaginable, all based on the filmmaker’s personal experiences.” Sødahl was said to “balance the ensemble both in front and behind the camera with impressive security,” resulting in “a strong portrait of a fragile love affair.”