On Thursday, 26 September, the Danish Oscar Submitting Committee selected Zentropa and Thomas Vinterberg's "The Hunt" as the national entry for the Foreign Language Oscar nominations 2014. On the shortlist were also Michael Noer's "Northwest" and Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Act of Killing".
Mikkelsen and Vinterberg – a strong duo
"'The Hunt' has proven to be a film with great international potential," says Henrik Bo Nielsen, CEO of the Danish Film Institute who heads the committee. Nielsen continues:
Off the press
"Daring to force his narrative right up against the edge of credibility, Vinterberg uses the hot-button topic of child abuse to push and probe at a town’s close-knit facade until the wounds bubble up angrily to the surface."
"Mikkelsen impresses here as a warm-hearted man who finds himself caught up in a situation way beyond his control."
"The film is superbly acted by a cast that never strikes a false note or softens the impact with consolatory sentiment."
The Hollywood Reporter
"'The Hunt' is a merciless examination of the fear and savagery roiling just below the surface of bourgeois life."
New York Times
"It leaves us not only with an unforgettable final image, but also the troubling thought that witch hunts, like war, will always be with us – all the more so in the modern era of instant communication."
"Vinterberg has come storming back with a gripping and moving work, co-written with Tobias Lindholm and directed with clarity and craftsmanship. It has also been tremendously photographed by Charlotte Bruus Christensen."
"The acting on all fronts is outstanding, with Mikkelsen holding the centre magnificently as the wronged teacher, his life contaminated by the slow-acting poison of rumour. Twitterati take note."
"The film enjoyed a successful world premiere at the Cannes festival in 2012 and has since fared tremendously well at festivals and among international critics. Thomas Vinterberg has shown over the years that he has the ability to attract audiences with gripping storytelling, and Mads Mikkelsen, who was rewarded in Cannes for his subtle performance as a man caught in a frenzied witch-hunt, has also repeatedly demonstrated that he has a special ability to capture moviegoers' attention worldwide. We believe that the Academy members will find 'The Hunt' worth considering in the upcoming nomination rounds."
Warm international reception
Thomas Vinterberg, who is currently shooting his next film "Far from the Madding Crowd" in the UK, wrote the "The Hunt" with Tobias Lindholm ("Borgen", "A Hijacking"), a story about Lucas, a well-liked kindergarten teacher played by Mads Mikkelsen who falls victim to the hysteria caused by false accusations made against him by a young girl in his care.
A Zentropa film, "The Hunt" is produced by Sisse Graum Jørgensen and Morten Kaufmann. Jørgensen was also behind Susanne Bier's Academy Award winner, "In a Better World", and last year's Danish Oscar entry "A Royal Affair", which was nominated in the Foreign Language category.
Since premiering at the Cannes festival in 2012, "The Hunt" has won a host of awards and nominations, including a European Film Award (and an additional four nominations) and the British Independent Film Award, and enjoyed a warm reception in the UK and US where it opened in November last year and in July, respectively.
Opening in Denmark in January, the film sold 673,000 tickets which places "The Hunt" among the three best-selling Danish feature films in the last five years.
The Oscar Academy will announce the nominations for Best Foreign Language Film on 16 January, and the awards show in Los Angeles will take place on 2 March.
About the Danish committee
The Danish Oscar Submitting Committee is set up by the Danish Film Institute and film industry organisations. The committee consists of Henrik Bo Nielsen (CEO, Danish Film Institute), Tivi Magnusson (producer, Danish Producers Association), Jan Weincke (cinematographer, Danish Association of Cinematographers), Kim Pedersen (president, Danish Cinema Association), Mette-Ann Schepelern (board member, Danish Film Directors), Jacob Wendt Jensen (board member, Danish Film Journalists Association), and Steffen Andersen-Møller, (head of Audience & Promotion, Danish Film Institute).
10 years of Danish Oscar entries
/ Foreign Language category
2012 A Royal Affair / Nikolaj Arcel / Oscar nomination
2011 Superclásico / Ole Christian Madsen / Oscar shortlist
2010 In a Better World / Susanne Bier / Oscar winner
2009 Terribly Happy / Henrik Ruben Genz
2008 Worlds Apart / Niels Arden Oplev
2007 The Art of Crying / Peter Schønau Fog
2006 After the Wedding / Susanne Bier / Oscar nomination
2005 Adam's Apples / Anders Thomas Jensen
2004 The Five Obstructions / Jørgen Leth and Lars von Trier
2003 Reconstruction / Christoffer Boe
Full list of Danish Oscars over the years