'Holy Spider', 'A House Made of Splinters' and 'Ivalu' advance in the Oscar race

Oscars 2023. Ali Abbasi's 'Holy Spider' is on the Oscar shortlist in the International Feature Film category and Simon Lereng's 'A House Made of Splinters' in the Documentary Feature category while Anders Walter's 'Ivalu' is included in the category for Live Action Short.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday announced their Oscar shortlists three Danish films were on the lists.

In the race for an Oscar nomination in the International Feature Film category is Ali Abbasi's 'Holy Spider', while Simon Lerengs Wilmont's 'A House Made of Splinters' advances in the Documentary Feature category and Anders Walter's 'Ivalu' in the Live Action Short category.

'Holy Spider' is produced by Profile Pictures, 'A House Made of Splinters' is produced by Final Cut for Real, and 'Ivalu' by M&M Productions. All three films are funded by the Danish Film Institute.

All Oscar nominations will be announced on 24 January. The 95th Oscars take place on 12 March 2023 in Los Angeles.

'Holy Spider'

Holy Spider' by Ali Abbasi is set in Iran and is inspired by the true story of a serial killer who in 2000-2001 "cleaned" the streets of female sex workers. At the center of the story is a female journalist who descends into the dark underworld of Mashhad, Iran's holiest city, to investigate the murders.

'Holy Spider' attracted strong interest at its world premiere in Cannes Competition, where Zar Amir Ebrahimi received the Best Actress award for her performance. The praise continued at the festival screenings in Telluride, Toronto, Austin Fantastic Fest, Busan, and Rio de Janeiro. It also won several prestigious international festival awards and was most recently nominated for four European Film Awards. 28 October the film premiered in the US where it is distributed by Utopia and has received great reviews.

Iranian-born Ali Abbas graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 2011. He made his feature film debut with the horror film 'Shelley', selected for the Berlinale. His second feature film, the Swedish-Danish fable 'Border', won the main prize in 2018 in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.

'Holy Spider' is produced by Jacob Jarek for Profile Pictures in co-production with German One Two Films by Sol Bondy.

'A House Made of Splinters'

A House Made of Splinters_Simon Lereng Wilmont
'A House Made of Splinters'

Simon Lereng Wilmont's 'A House Made of Splinters' received the Sundance Film Festival's award for best directing in the international documentary competition in January.

The film is set in Eastern Ukraine, where the war takes a heavy toll on poor families living near the frontline. We follow a small group of strong-willed social workers who strive tirelessly in a special kind of orphanage to create an almost magical safe space for kids to live in while the state authorities and courts decide the future fate of the child and family. 

A House Made of Splinters' is a follow-up to the director's 'The Distant Barking of Dogs', also bringing us close to the lives of children in war-torn Eastern Ukraine. Monica Hellström has produced for Final Cut for Real.



Oscar winner Anders Walter's 'Ivalu' tells the story of an interrupted childhood and a little sister's search for her missing older sister.

Pipaluk lives in a Greenlandic settlement with her father and older sister Ivalu. Pipaluk is unhappy because Ivalu has disappeared and her father does not care. At night, Pipaluk dreams of a raven that takes her to Ivalu. Therefore, when a raven appears to her in the morning, Pipaluk follows it. Greenlandic myths intertwine in a poetic journey full of memories that cover a harsh reality.

Anders Walter made the screenplay based on a graphic novel also called 'Ivalu'. Rebecca Pruzan and Kim Magnusson have produced for M&M Productions. The company has produced multiple Oscar-winning short films.

Danish films and the Oscars

Four Danish films have won an Oscar in the International Feature Film category: Thomas Vinterberg's 'Another Round' in 2021, Susanne Bier's 'In a Better World' in 2011, Bille August's 'Pelle the Conqueror' in 1989, and Gabriel Axel's 'Babette's Feast' in 1988.


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For the awards show in 2022, Jonas Poher Rasmussen's animated documentary 'Flee' received three nominations: for best international film, best documentary, and best-animated film. Martin Strange-Hansen's 'On My Mind' was nominated in the Live Action Short category.

Below is an overview of Danish Oscar entries in the International Feature Film category over the last ten years:

2022 Flee / Jonas Poher Rasmussen / Oscar nomination in three categories
2021 Another Round / Thomas Vinterberg / Oscar winner og nominated as Best Director
2020 Queen of Hearts / May el-Toukhy
2019 The Guilty / Gustav Möller / Oscar shortlist
2018 You Disappear / Peter Schønau Fog
2017 Land of Mine / Martin Zandvliet / Oscar nomination
2016 A War / Tobias Lindholm / Oscar nomination
2015 Sorrow and Joy / Nils Malmros
2014 The Hunt / Thomas Vinterberg / Oscar nomination
2013 A Royal Affair / Nikolaj Arcel / Oscar nomination

See the full list of nominations and awards for Danish films on our Oscar page.