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Norway has floated the high-seas adventure tale Kon-Tiki by directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning in the race for the 2013 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
The drama, which has been a box office hit at home and bowed at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, is the true story of Norwegian explorer and anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl. In 1974, Heyerdahl and five other scientists, sailed across the Pacific Ocean – more than 4,000 miles from South America to the Polynesian Islands – on a wooden raft, to prove ancient tribes could also have made the journey. Heyerdahl recorded his voyage and turned the results into a documentary, which won the Oscar in 1952.
Pal Sverre Hagen, who plays Heyerdahl, has attracted attention in Toronto, with several U.S. agencies believed to be circling the young Norwegian.
Budgeted at more than $16 million, Kon-Tiki is the most expensive Norwegian film every made. The film has sold some 580,000 tickets locally since its August 24 bow, earning upwards of $9 million. Jeremy Thomas of U.K.-based Recorded Picture Company and Aage Aaberge of Nordisk Film Production Norway produced Kon-Tiki while HanWay Films is handling international sales.
This is the second Oscar attempt for Sandberg and Ronning, whose WWII drama Max Manus was Norway’s Oscar candidate in 2009.
The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film on Jan. 15. The 2012 Oscars will be announced Feb. 24.
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