The Promised Land is Denmark's Oscar candidate

OSCAR 2024. The Danish Oscar Submitting Committee has chosen 'The Promised Land' as Denmark’s submission in the International Feature Film category for the upcoming Academy Awards.

The Danish Oscar Submitting Committee, made up of representatives from the film industry and the Danish Film Institute, has chosen 'The Promised Land' as Denmark’s contender in the International Feature Film category for the 2024 Academy Awards.

'The Promised Land' was chosen from a shortlist of three films. The two additional titles on the list were 'Before It Ends' by Anders Walter and the documentary 'Apolonia, Apolonia' by Lea Glob. All three films are produced with support from the Danish Film Institute.

Jacob Neiiendam, Head of International at The Danish Film Institute and chairperson of the Danish Oscar Submitting Committee, says:

“The past few weeks have made it very clear that 'The Promised Land' is the strongest Danish candidate to secure a Oscar nomination. It received a fantastic reception from both critics and award experts at its world premiere in the Venice competition as well as at Telluride and Toronto. The film has American distribution through Magnolia, who previously brought Danish films like Nikolaj Arcel's 'A Royal Affair' as well as ‘The Hunt’ and ‘A War’ to the Oscars.”

The Promised Land

'The Promised Land' by Nikolaj Arcel is set in 1755. The impoverished Captain Ludvig Kahlen sets out to conquer the harsh, uninhabitable Danish heath with a seemingly impossible goal: to build a colony in the name of the King. In exchange, he'll receive a desperately desired Royal name for himself. But the sole ruler of the area, the merciless Frederik de Schinkel, arrogantly believes this land belongs to him. 

‘The Promised Land’ finds Director Nikolaj Arcel reunited with lead actor Mads Mikkelsen who also played the lead role in 'A Royal Affair'. The film received an Oscar nomination in the “Foreign Language” (now known as “International Feature Film”) category in 2013.

At the recent World premiere in Competition at the Venice Film Festival, the film was well recieved by international critics who especially praised Mads Mikkelsen's performance and the film's epic scope. Variety highlighted Arcel's "sturdy, old-school feel for grand-scale period filmmaking" and the Hollywood Reporter called the film "a terrific story driven by skillful writing and strong performances" and further noted that "there's an art to bringing vitatity and modernity to historical drama, and Arcel shows a firm grasp of it".

In addition to Venice, 'The Promised Land' has participated in several prominent festivals including Telluride, Toronto and San Sebastian. The film is produced by Louise Vesth for Zentropa and has received financial backing from the Danish Film Institute.

The Danish Oscar Submitting Committee

The Danish Oscar Submitting Committee consists of Danish film professional representatives appointed from various film associations and guilds as requested by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Science (AMPAS).

Organization Member
Society of Danish Film Editors Henrik Thiesen, Editor
Danish Cinema Owners Assoc. Sune Lind Thomsen, Cinema Owner, Gentofte Cinema
Danish Screenwriters Guild Ina Bruhn, Screenwriter
Danish Film Critics Assoc. Jacob Ludvigsen, Film critic, Soundvenue
Danish Film Directors Assoc. Lisa Jespersen, Director
Danish Cinematographers Guild Louise Mclaughlin, DOP
Danish Film Institute Jacob Neiiendam (Chairperson of the Committee), Head of International

Lena Juhl Seidelin, Marketing Consultant, Feature Films
Danish Producers Assoc. Pernille Bech Christensen

Oscars rules and dates

Each country may submit one film for nomination in the International Feature Film category. Last year, a total of 93 titles entered the race. 

To be eligible in the International Feature Film category a film's domestic release date must be no earlier than December 1st and no later than October 31st. An international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the US with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.

Full details on rules and eligibility can be found here:


Jacob Neiiendam
Afdelingschef, International
Tlf. +45 2618 8865

The submission deadline is 2 October. The Academy will announce all shortlists on 21 December, including the 15 films that have a chance to become one of the five nominees in the International Feature Film category.

All Oscar nominations will be announced on 23 January 2024. The 96. Oscars takes place on 10 March 2024 in Los Angeles.

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.

For the 2023 Oscar finals, Simon Lereng Wilmont's documentary 'A House Made of Splinters' achieved a nomination in the category for Best Documentary Film and Anders Walter and Pipaluk K. Jørgensen's short film 'Ivalu' was nominated in the category Live Action Short.

Below is an overview of Danish Oscar entries in the International Feature Film category over the last 10 years (sorted by awards ceremony year):

2023 Holy Spider / Ali Abbasi / Oscar shortlist
2022 Flee / Jonas Poher Rasmussen / Oscar nomination
2021 Another Round / Thomas Vinterberg / Oscar winner
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

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