"Talvisota (The Winter War)," Finland's entry for best foreign film, received no Oscar nominations. I am in shock. How could the academy ignore a great movie? The search for answers begins.
"Talvisota" portrays the 1939 Soviet invasion of Finland. The central character is a simple farmer called to duty by the war. He is no Rambo or John Wayne. The heroic aspect of the Finns' fierce defense of their country (outnumbered 50 to 1, little artillery support, no air force) is played down in the movie. The tone throughout is grueling, gritty realism--utterly devoid of jingoism or heroics.
Perhaps this realism is what eliminated "Talvisota" from the running. Other excellent films of 1989 slighted by Oscar also were realistic in style--"Do the Right Thing," "Drugstore Cowboy," "Roger & Me."
Perhaps a movie that portrays the Soviet Union as a vicious imperialist is doomed in this era of glasnost and East-West rapprochement.