After meeting on Tuesday, 13 August, the Danish Oscar committee announced a shortlist of three films that have a chance to move forward and become Denmark's official entry for the 2020 International Feature Film category (previously Foreign Language). The committee will be convening again on 24 September to elect the final candidate.
The three films on the shortlist are 'Queen of Hearts' by May el-Toukhy, 'Before the Frost' by Michael Noer and 'Daniel' by Niels Arden Oplev and Anders W. Berthelsen.
Queen of Hearts
'Queen of Hearts' took home the audience award at its world premiere in Sundance. The film also picked up three prizes in Göteborg, including Best Nordic Film and Best Acting to Trine Dyrholm, who has received high praise for her performance as a successful lawyer who jeopardizes both career and family when she seduces her 17-year-old stepson. "This is Dyrholm's show and she gives it her all, emotionally and physically, delivering a full account of a woman who does whatever she wants because she believes she can get away with it," the Hollywood Reporter wrote.
Opening in Denmark on 28 March, the film enjoyed a unanimously enthusiastic reception from the press, signing off five and, mostly, six-star reviews. Admissions have currently reached 332,000. The script is written by Maren Louise Käehne in collaboration with el-Toukhy. Producers are Caroline Blanco and René Ezra for Nordisk Film.
Before the Frost
'Before the Frost' was warmly received at its Toronto world premiere in 2018. Jesper Christensen as the aging farmer Jens in 1850s Denmark was highlighted by The Hollywood Reporter as a "tour-de-force performance," which earned him awards in Chicago and Tokyo. Michael Noer, who premiered his remake of 'Papillon' at 2017's Toronto Festival, also picked up a Special Jury Award in Tokyo.
The historical drama premiered in national theatres on 10 January to enthusiastic reviews, with admissions to date reaching 209,000. Noer wrote the script with Jesper Fink, and the film is produced by Matilda Appelin, René Ezra and Tomas Radoor for Nordisk Film.
'Daniel' is an adaptation of Danish writer and journalist Puk Damsgård's novel about the Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye who was held hostage by Islamic State for 398 days in Syria by Islamic State along with several other foreign nationals, including the American journalist James Foley. Niels Arden Oplev, who has directed several US films and TV series, has helmed the film with Anders W. Berthelsen, who also co-stars alongside Esben Smed in the title role.
The script is by Anders Thomas Jensen, who was behind Susanne Bier's 2011 Oscar winner 'In a Better World'. Morten Kaufmann and Signe Leick Jensen from Toolbox Film have produced the film, which opens on 29 August.
All films are produced with support from the Danish Film Institute, and Trustnordisk is handling international sales.
Danish Oscar Committee
The Danish Oscar committee is set up by the Danish Film Institute and national film industry organisations.
The Committee consists of chairman Claus Ladegaard (CEO, Danish Film Institute), Tivi Magnusson (Danish Producers), Anders Refn (Danish Directors), Jan Weincke (Danish Cinematographers), Nanna Frank Rasmussen (Danish Film Critics), Mette Schramm (Danish Cinemas) and Marianne Moritzen (Head of Fiction, Danish Film Institute).
The committee members will be announcing Denmark's final candidate for the International Feature Film Oscar category after their next meeting on 24 September.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominations for the International Feature Film Oscar on 13 January. The 2020 winners will be announced on Oscar Night taking place in Los Angeles on 9 February.
10 years of Danish films and the Oscars
Below is an overview of the last ten years of Danish Oscar entries in the Foreign Language category (now International Feature Film) by awards ceremony year:
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
2012 Superclásico / Ole Christian Madsen / Oscar shortlist
2011 In a Better World / Susanne Bier / Oscar winner
2010 Terribly Happy / Henrik Ruben Genz