The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Thursday, 16 January, the nominations for the Oscars 2014. A record number of three Danish films got through to the final round in the world's most prestigious film competition:
Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt is nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, and entering the Documentary Feature category is Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing. Finally, Anders Walter's Helium is selected for the Live Action Short category.
"Four Danish films were Oscar-shortlisted – and three of the films made it to the final nominations. That's truly unique," says Henrik Bo Nielsen, CEO of the Danish Film Institute.
"It's the ultimate tribute to all the talented people in the Danish film community and their knack of telling gripping stories that have an international appeal. There's Anders Walter's drama that masters the short format. There's Thomas Vinterberg's account of a witch-hunt in a small town in Denmark, but the workings of fear and betrayal that the film exposes have proved universal. And there's Joshua Oppenheimer's harrowing exposition of Indonesia's culture of impunity that virtually seizes you by the throat. Congratulations to all the directors, producers and their teams, and good luck at the Oscars. Unfortunately Michelle and Uri Kranot's animation 'Hollow Land' didn't make it to the final round, but it is an honour just to be on the shortlist," says Henrik Bo Nielsen.
Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor award in Cannes 2012 for his performance as a mild-mannered kindergarten teacher whose life falls apart when a young girl in his care makes false accusations against him. Since Cannes, "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. A big hit at the national box office, the film landed among the three best-selling Danish feature films in the last five years.
Director Thomas Vinterberg wrote "The Hunt" with Tobias Lindholm, and Sisse Graum Jørgensen and Morten Kaufmann have produced for Zentropa. Jørgensen also produced Susanne Bier's 2011 Oscar winner "In a Better World" and Bier's 2007 nominee "After the Wedding" as well as last year's Danish Oscar nominee "A Royal Affair".
Getting ready to play their victims: two leaders of Sumatra's most feared death squad from 1965-66 genocide in Joshua Oppenheimer's Oscar nominee "The Act of Killing". Photo: Anonymous
The Act of Killing
Accolades have rained down on Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Act of Killing" since it premiered at the Toronto film festival in 2012. Only last week, the film took home the Best Film and Best Production awards at Cinema Eye Honors, one of the major distinctions in documentary filmmaking.
"The Act of Killing" has also attracted massive attention in Indonesia where it was released online for free download a few months ago. The film has made a clear impact on the country's public debate with its unsettling story that takes its audience deep into the imaginations of the killers of Indonesia's 1965-66 genocide. Signe Byrge Sørensen and Anne Köhncke have produced the film for Final Cut for Real.
"Helium" is the story of Alfred and Enzo who develop a magical world full of hope for the young boy who lies seriously ill in hospital. Photo: M&M Productions
Anders Walter's "Helium", produced by Kim Magnusson for M&M Productions, is the story of a young boy, Alfred, who is seriously ill in the hospital. He becomes good friends with the eccentric cleaning man Enzo and together they develop a magical fantasy world named Helium.
Anders Walter has worked as an illustrator and comic book artist since the age of 17 and has directed music videos for Scandinavian artists. M&M Productions has won the Oscar in the Live Action Short category on three previous occasions – for "Election Night" in 1999, "This Charming Man" in 2003, and "The New Tenants" in 2010.
Danish Oscar Entries Over the Years
2013 A Royal Affair / Nikolaj Arcel / Zentropa / Oscar nomination
2011 In a Better World / Susanne Bier / Zentropa / Oscar winner
2007 After the Wedding / Susanne Bier / Zentropa / Oscar nomination
1990 Waltzing Regitze / Kaspar Rostrup / Nordisk Film / Oscar nomination
1989 Pelle The Conqueror / Bille August / Per Holst Filmproduktion / Oscar winner
1988 Babette's Feast / Gabriel Axel / Panorama Film & Nordisk Film / Oscar winner
1961 Harry and the Butler / Bent Christensen / Bent Christensen Produktion / Oscar nomination
1959 Paw / Astrid Henning-Jensen / Laterna Film / Oscar nomination
1956 Qivitoq / Erik Balling / Nordisk Film / Oscar nomination
2010 Burma VJ / Anders Østergaard / Magic Hour Films / Oscar nomination
1961 A City Called Copenhagen / Jørgen Roos / Minerva Film / Oscar nomination
1957 Where Mountains Float / Bjarne Henning-Jensen / Arnø Studio / Oscar nomination
Live Action Short
2010 The New Tenants / Joachim Back / M&M Productions / Oscar winner
2009 The Pig / Dorte Høgh / M&M Productions / Oscar nomination
2008 At Night / Christian E. Christiansen / Zentropa / Oscar nomination
2007 Helmer & Son / Søren Pilmark / Nordisk Film / Oscar nomination
2003 This Charming Man / Martin Strange-Hansen / M&M Productions / Oscar winner
2000 Teis & Nico / Henrik Ruben Genz / Nimbus Film / Oscar nomination
1999 Election Night / Anders Thomas Jensen / M&M Productions / Oscar winner
1998 Wolfgang / Anders Thomas Jensen / M&M Productions / Oscar nomination
1998 Sweethearts? / Birger Larsen / Metronome Productions & Victoria Film / Oscar nomination
1997 Ernst and the Light / Anders Thomas Jensen & Thomas Villum Jensen / M&M Productions / Oscar nomination