Torill Kove's animated short film "The Danish poet" broke Norway's 56-year dry spell at the Academy Awards, becoming the country's first Oscar-winner since adventurer Thor Heyerdahl won for his documentary "Kon-Tiki."
Kove's film tells the story of a young Danish poet who travels to Norway to find inspiration by meeting Norwegian writer and Nobel Prize winner Sigrid Undset. The tale was narrated by Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann, who was twice nominated for an Oscar, in 1970 for her role in "The Emigrants" and in 1996 for "Face to Face," but did not win.
Although Kove, 48, lives in Montreal and her project was backed by the National Film Board of Canada, the story "could not have been more Norwegian," she said.
"I am Norwegian, and there is not a trace of doubt in my soul that this film is 100-percent Norwegian," Kove said.
She was also nominated for an Oscar in 1999, for the animated short film "My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts."
Jan Erik Holst, of the Norwegian Film Institute, said the award "puts Norway on the map," especially for its small, scattered teams of animators, reports AP.
Heyerdahl, who died in 2002 at age 87, won Norway's only other Oscar in 1951 for a documentary on his harrowing 101-day voyage from Peru to Polynesia in a balsa-log raft.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969