Nine films have been shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, which will be whittled down to 5 nominees on January 24th. Erik Poppe’s Norwegian/Irish co-production The King’s Choice is one of those nine. This is the second year in a row that an Irish co-production has made the shortlist, with The King’s Choice following in the footsteps Paddy Breathnach’s Cuban-set Spanish-language drama Viva.

On the 9th of April 1940, German troops invade Oslo. The king of Norway is faced with a choice, which will change his nation forever. This is a film about real events, which turned a brave man into the people’s king.

The King’s Choice, which was written by Harald Rosenløw-Eeg and Jan Trygve Røyneland, stars Jesper Christensen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, and Tuva Novotny. Newly appointed Irish Film Board project coordinator Lesley McKimm co-produced for Newgrange Pictures, alongside Finn Gjerdrum, Stein Kvae, Jackie Larkin, Henrik Zein, Malene Ehlers, and Madeleine Ekman.

The film received backing from the Irish Film Board, Windmill Lane Pictures, Norsk Filminstitutt, Copenhagen Film Fund, Film i Väst, Film3, Eurimages, Svensk Filminstitutt, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Coficine, Jesper Christensen, Nordisk Film, Paradox Rettigheter, Beta Film, Danmark Radio, Nordisk, Norsk Rikskringkasting, and Svensk Television.

The rules for choosing Best Foreign Language Film are unique. Each country gets to nominate one film (Ireland had no nominee this year, with The King’s Choice representing Norway) and then all are screened for a committee of about 300 people, with the top 6 making the shortlist. The remaining 79 screen again for the Academy’s Foreign Language Executive Committee (about 20 people) who choose 3 more to make up the total shortlist.

This year the selection process has come in for some scrutiny as favourites like Paul Verhoeven‘s EllePedro Almodóvar‘s Julieta, and Pablo Larraín‘s Neruda have all missed out.

The winner will be announced at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony on February 26th.

The films selected, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

Australia – Tanna – Directed by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler
Canada – It’s Only the End of the World – Directed by Xavier Dolan
Denmark – Land of Mine – Directed by Martin Zandvliet
Germany – Toni Erdmann – Directed by Maren Ade
Iran – The Salesman – Directed by Asghar Farhadi
Norway – The King’s Choice – Directed by Erik Poppe
Russia – Paradise – Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky
Sweden – A Man Called Ove – Directed by Hannes Holm
Switzerland – My Life as a Zucchini – Directed by Claude Barras

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