With Thomas Vinterberg’s fantastic movie Another Round winning Best International Feature at the Oscars last year, we decided to dive into the past decade and see what other Nordic movies have made it to the Oscars allowing you to set yourselves up for a fantastic Nordic Oscar’s binge watch this weekend in the build up to the ceremony this Sunday night!
In a Better World (Denmark)
Ten years ago Susan Bier won an Oscar for her movie In A Better World – could this be the omen we are looking for as the Nordics look to gain another Oscar for International Film?
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
In Mad Mikkelsen’s first appearance in an Oscar-nominated movie, the Nikolaj Arcel-directed A Royal Affair was a big hit both in Denmark and across the globe. The movie follows Alicia Vikander as a young queen who is married to an unstable king (played wickedly by Mikkel Bo Folsgaard in his debut for a feature film) who falls in love with her physician (Mad Mikkelsen’s Johan), creating a tragic path for them both and beyond. It is based on a events that had happened in the late 1700s which the director had trouble making investors believe where true when pitching the movie to them!
Another historical drama that picked up recognition is Norway’s Kon-Tiki based on the story of a group of Norwegians who in the 1940’s decided to cross from the South Pacific to the Polynesian islands on a raft (of all methods). As you might expect they encounter all sorts of challenges trying to prevent them taking on this much heroic task!
The film was directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg who went on to direct Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – clearly showing their love of great open sea adventures!
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Hunt saw Mad Mikkelsen’s star in Thomas Vinterberg’s powerful and haunting movie. You will spot quite a few familiar faces from Vinterberg’s earlier move The Commune and later with Another Round – here as Mad Mikkelsen’s primary school teacher falls foul of a child’s lie with brutal and heart-breaking consequences.
This really showed Vinterberg as a big player to be recognized and clearly here he has found his muse and sidekick in Mad Mikkelsen. It is no wonder the pair came back to work again on Another Round.
A War (Denmark)
Working with Thomas Vinterberg has clearly proven a great partnership as Tobias Lindholm’s feature A War picked up an Oscar nod in 2015. Tobias had written the screenplay for The Hunt, and had directed the excellent movie A Hijacking. Like Thomas having his muse in Mads, Tobias has his in the excellent Pilou Asbæk – the pair reunite for this movie which focuses on a Danish military commander accused of war crimes whilst out on patrol fighting the Taliban.
The pair have since reunited for the absolutely brilliant TV series, The Investigation, which has been a big hit in the UK, Europe, and has started over in the USA now too.
Land of Mine (Denmark)
This astonishing piece of cinema came up for nomination the following year – this time round it was a different Danish director looking for the golden statue with director Martin Zandvliet and Land of Mine. A powerful piece of cinema that sees a group of young German prisoners of war made to mine sweep the Danish beaches in order to gain their freedom – all under the watchful eye of strict Sergeant Carl Rasmussen (played to terrifying perfection by Roland Moller).
The movie predominantly features the young German cast whom under Martin’s direction bring this heart-breaking story to life.
The Square (Sweden)
Finally an entry from Sweden – and a favourite of ours here at Nordic Watchlist. The Square is Ruben Ostlund’s follow up to the, also excellent, Force Majeure – adding more black humour and uncomfortable moments to grit your teeth and laugh your way through. This time round we see an excellent Claes Bang get himself into a right dither after his mobile phone gets stolen and an ad campaign he is overseeing goes horribly wrong.
It is a sequence of events that are darkly comic, incredibly uncomfortable, and have a great sting in their tail of modern society. We truly cannot wait to see Ruben’s next movie Triangle of Sadness, which should be out later this year!
Another Round (Denmark)
The Nordic region finally got a win last year for Best International Feature Film with Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg’s fantastic film!
A group of friends decide to test the theory that being 0.05% over the limit on alcohol can give you a better way of living and achieving things in your life. This, naturally, has both comedic and catastrophic repercussions climaxing in one of our favourite movies of all time.
The cast is absolutely phenomenal as old faces from previous Vinterberg’s movies pair up – the chemistry is just magical to watch and we really do feel that after a nine year wait for a Nordic movie to win an Best Foreign Picture Oscar – this is the movie!
The Worst Person the World (Norway) & Flee (Denmark)
As we approach this weekend’s Academy Awards we see not one but two films in the competition, and two excellent films at that!
Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World is nominated for Best International Feature and Screenplay whilst Flee has broken records by being the first animated feature to be nominated in three categories – those categories being: Best Documentary, Best Animated Feature, and Best International Feature Film – an incredible achievement for director Jonas Poher Rasmussen whose fans of the movie include the likes of Steven Spielberg and Bong Joon Ho.
We truly hope both films get an award but there is some tough competition on these categories with Japan’s Drive My Car, Disney’s Enchanto, and the Summer of Soul all winning big in the build up to the weekend – could there be a shake up at the Academy’s?
The Academy Awards take place on Sunday night and The Worst Person in the World is out today in UK cinemas!
Feature by Alex Minnis