No win for Kon-Tiki

Photo: Nils Wanberg. Directors Joachim Rønning, left, and Espen Sandberg, right.

Norwegian film and Best Foreign Language Film nominee “Kon-Tiki” leaves the Oscars empty handed

Denise Leland
Seattle, Wash.

On Sunday, Feb. 24, the 85th Academy Awards were presented in Los Angeles, where the film “Kon-Tiki” represented Norway in the Best Foreign-Language Feature category. The two directors and best friends Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning hit the red carpet to represent their film. Unfortunately, “Kon-Tiki” did not win the Oscar.

The film was also nominated at this year’s Golden Globe awards for Foreign Language film. In both the Oscars and the Globes, “Kon-Tiki” was beat out by the Austrian film “Amour,” which was also nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

Fellow Foreign-Language nominees included “No” from Chile, “A Royal Affair” from Denmark, “War Witch” from Canada and of course, “Amour” from Austria.

“Kon-Tiki” is an action-adventure film recounting the daring and courageous journey of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his crew of scientists in their seafaring quest to prove the theory that Polynesian natives originated from Peru. Heyerdahl’s real-life documented adventure was awarded Best Documentary at the Academy Awards in 1951, just years after the 1947 voyage. The actual balsa raft can be seen at The Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway.

Sandberg and Rønning should remain proud of their film and the spotlight that its global recognition has cast on their native country of Norway. No stranger to fame in Norway, the directing duo produced the highest grossing Norwegian film ever, 2008 war drama “Max Manus: Man of War.”

The directors stand amongst four other Oscar-nominated filmmakers from Norway; Arne Skouen for “Nine Lives” (Ni Liv) in 1957, Nils Gaup with “Pathfinder” (Veiviseren) in 1987, Berit Nesheim with “The Other Side of Sunday” (Søndagsengler) and Petter Næs for “Elling” in 2001. Stars of “Kon-Tiki” include Pål Sverre Hagen, Agnes Kittelsen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Tobias Santelmann and Jakob Oftebro.

Initially produced by Nordisk Film Production Norway and UK’s Recorded Picture Company, the film has been picked up in the US by The Weinstein Company and expects an English language version to be released sometime
this year.

Despite its losses this award season, the film “Kon-Tiki,” written by Petter Skavlan, has reminded the world of Norway’s influential place in history as well as the audacity of its heroes. The film has certainly made a historic mark on the legacy of Scandinavian and Norwegian film in Hollywood. Surely we can all look forward to a future of great films coming from Sandberg and Rønning, bringing a proud touch of Norway to the big screen.

This article originally appeared in the Mar. 1, 2013 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.