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A War is Danish Oscar entry

Tobias Lindholm's drama about the human consequences of war is selected as Denmark's candidate to run in the foreign-language Oscar race. "A War" premiered to warm reviews at the Venice Film Festival.

  • Photo: Per Arnesen

    Photo: Per Arnesen

By DFI/Lars Fiil-Jensen

After meeting up on Wednesday afternoon the national Oscar committee elected Nordisk Film and Tobias Lindholm's "A War" as Denmark's official entry for the 88th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The film was picked from a shortlist of three which also included Anders Thomas Jensen's "Men & Chicken" and Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Look of Silence."

Henrik Bo Nielsen, CEO of the Danish Film Institute and chair of the committee, motivates the selection:

"It has been an exciting challenge having to choose between three so skilled candidates. We selected Tobias Lindholm's 'A War' as this year's Danish participant after having thoroughly considered which film would have the greatest chance to seize the attention of the Academy members," says Henrik Bo Nielsen.

"'A War' had a fantastic reception at this year's Venice Film Festival, where the international press spoke highly of the film and Lindholm's unique ability to depict the human drama that occurs when we are put under extreme pressure. Lindholm has previously shown Oscar muscle as the scriptwriter behind Thomas Vinterberg's 'The Hunt' which was one of the five Oscar-nominated films in 2014, and he has also garnered great respect for his two previous films 'A Hijacking' and 'R.' With its captivating drama and the director's unique take on the story, we consider 'A War' a strong bid."

About A War
"A War" illuminates the consequences of war on all its participants – from soldiers and civilians to family and loved ones. We follow company commander Claus Michael Pedersen and his men who are stationed in an Afghan province. Back in Denmark, Claus' wife Maria is trying to hold everyday life together with a husband at war and three children missing their father. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire and in order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that has grave consequences for him – and his family back home.

Making its world debut in the Venice Film Festival's Orizzonti competition, "A War" met with warm appraisal by trade critics, naming it a "bruising two hours of you-are-there cinema" (Indiewire) and a "rigorous, engrossing anatomy of a suspected war crime" (Variety), among other accolades. Reception in domestic theatres was equally enthusiastic. Opening on 10 September, "A War" garnered four and five starred reviews across the board. The film has been picked up by top distributor Magnolia for US distribution and has sold to at least 20 more countries.

Pilou Asbæk features in the lead as the troubled commander, marking the actor's third collaboration with Lindholm. In Lindholm's debut feature "R" (co-directed with Michael Noer, 2010), Asbæk plays a troubled inmate, and in "A Hijacking" (2012), he embodies a cook caught in the line of fire when his cargo freighter is overrun by Somali pirates.

As a writer, Lindholm was behind Thomas Vinterberg's "The Hunt" (2013) which was one of the five final Oscar nominees for the Academy Awards fest in 2014. Lindholm's writing credits include the international hit show "Borgen" (2010-13) and Vinterberg's upcoming "The Commune," to be released in 2016. Among future projects is the Berlin Wall drama "The Tunnels" which Lindholm is set to script for director Paul Greengrass.

"A War" is written by Lindholm and produced by Tomas Radoor and René Ezra for Nordisk Film, with Studiocanal handling international distribution rights.

Read interview with Tobias Lindholm: Consequences of War

The Danish Committee
The Danish Oscar submitting committee is set up by the Danish Film Institute and film industry organisations. The Committee consists of chairman Henrik Bo Nielsen (CEO, Danish Film Institute), Regner Grasten (Danish Producers), Janus Metz (Danish Film Directors), Jan Weincke (Danish Cinematographers), Jacob Wendt Jensen (Danish Film Critics), Kim Pedersen (Danish Cinemas) and Claus Ladegaard (head of Film Support, Danish Film Institute).

Oscars 2016 / Dates
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominations for Best Foreign Language film on 14 January. The 2016 winners will be announced on Oscar Night taking place in Los Angeles on 28 February.

More
10 Years of Oscar
Danish Oscar Entries Feature Films
/ By awards ceremony year

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
2009 Worlds Apart / Niels Arden Oplev
2008 The Art of Crying / Peter Schønau Fog
2007 After the Wedding / Susanne Bier / Oscar nomination
2006 Adam's Apples / Anders Thomas Jensen
2005 The Five Obstructions / Jørgen Leth and Lars von Trier